Rubbish and littering is almost everywhere in Honiara City. Despite the fact that many residents including especially the business communities are not paying the required fees, the responsibility points back to the council. The Honiara city Council must act tougher now and compliment the work of the Honiara Beautification Group in order to make an impact on the cleanliness of the city. Without this the capital city would go down the drain and rubbish dumps would spring everywhere instead.

After living overseas for sometimes I went home for Christmas and was in Honiara for a week. I have always had in me, sometimes intentionally that my country, Solomon Islands is naturally more beautiful than most other countries. The people are happy, kind and beautiful. There are many islands and lagoons with beautiful beaches and coconut palms, rich marine life and natural tropical wild life in the bushes. The air is clean and clear blue sky is visible every fine day. These features and a picture of clean villages and towns are images I always attach to Solomon Islands from abroad. It may be right that these are tourist's perceptions of the island countries, nevertheless, I once enjoyed these natural beauties as a childhood, the memories lives ever since.

To my dismay when entering Honiara and walking around the streets litter is everywhere. This is noticeable along the Point Cruz business center up to the Central Market, the China Town, around the multi purpose hall at Lawson Tama, shops along the sea front of Kukum, and the Kukum Market Vendor. The city is clean twenty years ago than now. The debris along the main roads, in major junctions and at the foot of a hill after any heavy rain looks unbearable and is a danger to traffic. These questions then began to disturb me. Why do people not value clean and beautiful surrounding? Why did people's attitude to rubbish management seem to have gone from good, bad to worse? How could Honiara resident and the council complement the good work of the beautification Group?

In answering some of my questions I made these observations:

1. Keeping clean should be valued in all levels of the community. From family, school, church workplace and the public at large. Because of this, the awareness for keeping the city clean should be part of family and church teachings, school awareness from the kiddy level, workplace habit, and a more consistent and assertive public regulation and campaign.

2. Beside the few that involve in the beautification effort, most businesses are more interested in getting money from the poor customers and making profits than in the external hazard their rubbish has on the city. Retailers and food bars can be singled out on these. A regulation to make businesses more responsible for their rubbish should be made and enforced.

3. No effective rubbish collection has been consistently carried out by the council. It is about time that this activity is given higher priority and more funds given to its implementation. Council should put more effort into ensuring that those that have been given the task to collect rubbish actually do the job. Tipping - or in our traditional practice showing of appreciation - can be used in a positive way so that collectors are willing. They should be reminded however that even without a tip it is their responsibility to do the job.

4. The habit of throwing or dropping rubbish wherever one is still part of almost everybody's daily walk. Rather than on the spot fine which is practically difficult to carry out, how about engaging youth such as the scouts carry out on the spot reminder to pick up the rubbish and drop it at the proper bin.

5. We usually sympathize with the beetle nut sellers as they also struggle to meet family commitments. Beyond certain boundaries, however, in particular along the main highway and within business centers, beetle nut selling should be forbidden. To help curb this, first the landlord of that particular area should be accountable, second stronger police enforcement on the vendors, and third vendors should be encouraged to graduate into other alternative activities. Can the council assist to identify or arrange these activities? A little more creativity can get us to this.

6. Upgrading and maintaining the feeder roads and the walking paths will contribute a lot to cleanliness along the roads.

7. Guadalcanal Province should seriously pursue the idea of building another market with the assistance of a donor. This should not be far from the Honiara boundary. The benefit of this is helping rubbish manageable in Honiara, drawing traffic away from the city, and importantly to Guadalcanal province is generating income and business to the Province.

I wish to ask the Honiara residence and also residence of other Provincial towns to be conscious of our rubbish, be proud of our towns, and keep them clean. Create a positive and clean picture of our towns in you; they are your identity.

Concerned Citizen