Home / View Point / Guest Columns / Salaam: Forget Brazil and France, T&T should be emulating Japan’s tidy fans after more flash fooding

Salaam: Forget Brazil and France, T&T should be emulating Japan’s tidy fans after more flash fooding

Even after they were eliminated by Belgium in the World Cup Round of 16 on Monday, the Japan National Football Team and their supporters gave us a lesson in class and a taste of their culture.

I read that their fans cleaned up the section of the stadium where they sat while the team’s locker room was also clean and spotless when they departed. They even left a ‘thank you’ note to their Russian hosts.

Photo: Japan football fans tidy up behind themselves at the Russia 2018 World Cup.

I wonder how can the Japanese, who are in another country, display such civility. I would not delve into the semantics of the skill and prowess of the Japan team and why and how they were beaten by Belgium in such a heart-wrenching manner. But what I would take from the Japanese off the field, is their sense of cleanliness; and I wonder why we cannot adopt such a culture in Trinidad and Tobago.

Having seen social media videos of recent flooding in Port of Spain and parts of Diego Martin and  central Trinidad, I was appalled and horrified—but not in the least bit surprised.

The video showed parked cars submerged by torrential rain, which brought with it debris such as the ubiquitous plastic bottles and bags, tree trimmings and appliances—highlighting the way we indiscriminately dump garbage in our rivers and waterways.

All the debris cause by the flooding, due to the unusual precipitation, will lead to greater surface runoff. The garbage brought down by the flooding—most of it clearly as a result of anthropogenic impact or human activity—led inevitably to the blockage of the City’s archaic drainage systems.

The Ministry of Works, which has the responsibility for drainage, seems clueless and totally inept and devoid of solutions to rectify this perpetual headache that we witness every year. What has always amused me is that the Ministry employs Drainage Engineers, Project Engineers, Civil Engineers and persons qualified and familiar with Maintenance; yet we just can’t seem to get it right.

Photo: A Diego Martin resident looks on the brighter side in the aftermath of flooding in 2015.
(Copyright TTNewsFlash)

There must be a model that we can use, if we are unable to provide one of our own, to bring results to this yearly concern of flooding in our Capital City.

We must be cognisant about the immediate risks of flooding which pose great danger to property damage, health and human life. It is indeed important for us to realise that these perennial floods—including flash flood in our City and by extension rural areas—greatly increase the risk of the spread of communicable diseases; where, in all likelihood, water-borne diseases are expected to spread in its aftermath.

The narrative with regards to climate change and the effect of coastal damage is another area of concern. The impact of climate change is likely to worsen problems that coastal areas like Manzanilla and Mayaro already face, such as, shoreline erosion, water pollution and coastal flooding.

When last have the authorities paid attention to the shores of our beaches? The garbage left behind by our citizens after a day at the beach would make the Japanese football team cringe and probably commit “Hari-kari”. This uncleanliness is overwhelming and an eyesore to any person with a sense of cleanliness and hygiene.

Permit me to digress a little. We are aware of the levels of Sargassum seaweed, which began washing up on beaches of the Caribbean since 2011. One theory is that a change in the sea currents attributed to climate change increased the amount of carbon dioxide, which enhances the growth of Sargassum.

Photo: Sargassum seaweed.

But what initiative has the Regional Corporation put in place to remove the unattractive seaweed off the beaches? Zilch!

Has no one thought of putting CEPEP workers to rake the beaches daily and remove, bury or take it to landfills? Or perhaps the Faculty of Science at UWI can investigate and research the potential use of Sargassum as a sustainable energy source and fertiliser?

We are expecting a robust rainy season, therefore all of us need to do our part to keep our surroundings clean. This starts simply by refraining from throwing garbage in rivers, beaches and recreational areas.

And on the administrative side, the authorities must put strategic programmes in place to keep waterways clean and enforce stringent measures on town planning and developments.

Most importantly, they must also inform and educate citizens about the dangers of flooding and what can be done to minimise its impact. And, like the Japanese, we must adopt a culture of cleanliness.

Photo: Japan football fans tidy up behind themselves at the Russia 2018 World Cup.

About Salaah Inniss

Salaah Inniss
Salaah Inniss is an ardent writer with an enthusiasm for bringing insightful views on national issues. He graduated from Cipriani College in Environmental Management, and is presently working in the Integrated Facilities Building Service Industry. He is an empathetic supporter of conservation and the protection of the environment.

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  1. Well maybe if Trinidad was like Japan …an homogenised nation of people then things would be different… however we’re not, and with OVER 20,000 illegal immigrants not giving a sh%t about our country then this is the fallout of their actions !!!!

    • In terms of crime, racism, and other social ills, the homogenous nature of Japan as opposed to the diverse make-up of T&T would be a great topic to be brought up. But in terms of littering and general pride for our country, I’m not sure it’s relevant. I also don’t think that illegal immigrants- people who come here to work hard and send home money, and want to keep their heads down so as to avoid detection- are as a whole people who don’t give a shit about our country. They probably care more than a lot of Trinis, because they CHOSE to come here, and see here as a place to get ahead in life, rather than as a place to take for granted, like many Trinis do. It’s like when Trinis go to the States and treat that foreign land much better than they treat their native one. They don’t litter, they join lines, they drive within the limit.

  2. The whole matter is about a lack of discipline and just plain selfishness. The Japanese are disciplined in everything they do. We aren’t! We try to see how we can get around everything – always exploring the possibility of a loophole. “Why I havd to do this and that one or this one could get away scott free” We’re disrespectful of the road laws- we speed; we jaywalk; we make illegal u-turns. We don’t want to pay taxes and yet expect things to be provided for us: health, security. The difference is obvious – our society & theirs – they do what they do cause they realise that it benefits the whole. Hopefully (one day) all Trinis will come to this realization

  3. If trinis mind stink and dutty, you really think they care about where they throw rubbish, or keeping public spaces clean?….my trini ppl don’t respect their own …. but will show full respect when they go abroad….smh

  4. The Senegales was the first to do this guess you missed it sic

  5. That’s true Joey, they dont take pride in cleanliness, just look at outside of their houses, big house, and stink outside their fences

  6. I went to Chaguaramas Boardwalk last week and the place was NNNAAASSSTTTYYY!!!

  7. Trinis would say people getting paid to clean that so why we must clean it?

  8. Cleanliness and order are not matters of instinct; they are matters of Education, and like most great things, you must cultivate a taste for them.

    • This is very true. In Japanese schools, they set aside time during the day for the children to CLEAN! They don’t employ custodians, I don’t think- the children clean their classrooms, the halls, toilets, and school yard. They also serve each other school lunch as well. This cultivates a sense of service, pride in one’s surroundings, and a responsibility for keeping things clean and tidy. When you start from small, and you make it such a central part of their education, they WILL grow up to continue the behaviour.

  9. The article by the writer is on point. Especially the unsightly seaweed on our beaches. When will the government of the day start being proactive instead of waiting for people to protest and start to fix the drainage infrastructure and clean up the city…

  10. The article by the writer is on point, especially with the unsightly seaweed on the beaches. When would the government of the day be a proactive and not wait for people to protest to get them to fix the infrastructure and clean the drains in the City…

  11. Trinis will never learn anything good from other peoples .They just a stink bunch of people.

    • Trinis and They should I understand that this statement inlcude you as well or is it “Trini language” hope yuh not a Trini,and do believe there are other countries who have to deal with there stink bunch of people but moving on, from my observation as s Trini who has lived South ,Central and North I think the most deplorable case of littering ,nasty,careless,”through yuh garbage in the steeet or water ways” ppl are those who live in Port of Spain and the East West Corridor,sometimes walking through Port of Spain you see people of all backgrounds just littering without concern or care,their children doing likewise and not being told to stop,many a times I feel tempted to say to the person or persons “so yuh can’t find a bin” but the cuss or threats you will get hmmmm

    • Paula Antoine-Harrington It is “Trini language” you look around and you will see how we stink up the place without a care.Just go to the beaches check out the parks,rivers ,forest .I live near to one of the most beautiful parks in the country and everyday when I drive by all I see is empty KFC boxes , bottles and all sorts of garbage dumped on the side of the park and also in the park.Drive around the country and see how they dump tyres, chicken guts, household garbage.So when I say we stink we well stink. Fortunately I don’t fall in that bracket and I am sure there are alot more who like me don’t go round stinking up the place.

    • Paula Antoine-Harrington And that is a big problem we can’t talk to these people who stink up the place without getting cussup .It just goes to show how we relate to one another it is more like animals than humans, yet I think animals are far better than many of us.

    • Jose de Caires. I do agree with everything you said it sickens me everyday that our people are doing this ,there was a time I fell out with a group of ppl by river boy I blast them good and proper for their nastinees…

    • Then there are the ones who wait until you are in a taxi ,with no air-conditioning ,with pouring rain beating down and gas the interior like if you are a Jew in Belsen.These are life threatening polluters and the most dangerous.

    • Paula Antoine-Harrington Way to go Paula but be careful it seems trinis blood to close to their skin.

    • Just take a look at POS. A total, total disgrace for a capital city. That place makes me feel shame any time I venture there.

    • It’s not just Trinis … 20,000 + illegals also contributing to the nastiness as well ?

  12. I thought the Senegalese fans did this first!

  13. They teach them in school to clean up, after meals and after school.

  14. Senegal did the same… but I digress!! Carry on!

  15. Ever tried telling a Trini to pick back up the rubbish they threw on the ground and not get cuss? The reason we have no interest in doing the right thing is that the majority of us actually hate ourselves, our people, our country. Don’t let the friendliness of Trinis fool you. We can smile and share food and lime and in the next minute clog a canal with plastic bottles, not caring that someone’s home will be flooded.