THE SCOURGE OF ‘SCANDAL BAGS’

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In times past when shoppers and merchandisers moved away from brown paper bags, black cellophane bags were introduced, maybe because of their resilience and versatility in usage. At that time, there was a very popular Russian car that was brought in by the Michael Manley government of the seventies based on a trade-off for bauxite. Enter the Lada that was primarily allocated to civil servants because of their sturdiness and price range. But eventually it became a very popular option for taxi operators.
The direct connection has never been ascertained, however, as in time Jamaicans who had a knack for giving names to well-known and well-used objects dubbed the black bag “Lada bag”. That name stuck with the infamous bag until former Jamaica Labour Party Leader, Edward Seaga, at a political rally in Trelawny, reportedly held up a Lada bag which was symbolic in his verbal tirade of what he termed the scandal-ridden People’s National Party government at the time. Hence, the name “black scandal bag” was riveted in the minds of Jamaicans and ultimately, because of the presumed racist slur, the black was dropped, although that colour still remains.
Since then, the proliferation of “scandal bags” has created more problems than it was supposed to solve. Apart from being a carrier of purchased goods, it has been used for all manner of things including being a disposable for human excrement. This latter practice has led to many waterways including gutters and gulleys being jam-packed with these receptacles. The end result is that whenever it rains, these bags are washed down to the sea which has deleterious consequences for our beaches and marine life. Despite much public education, many residents, some of whom have no proper toilet facilities, have been known to parachute the putrid contents of their body waste into bushes or waterways.
In a recent news story, Garnet Edmondson, regional operations manager at Western Parks and Markets (WPM), was reported as appealing to residents in Western Jamaica to make 2018 cleaner. In that context, he made mention of the abundance of ‘scandal bags’ and noted that this ought to provide an opportunity for operators of public and private motor vehicles to use them as receptacles for the use of passengers to dispose of their garbage. One of the most disgusting occurrences on our roads is to see undisciplined persons throwing their garbage from motor vehicle windows.
In this regard, we are heartened by the announcement that the WPM is to embark on a public awareness campaign.

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