To The Editor:
We visited, coming from an area in the US where each plastic bag used to cost 50 cents US. Such high price makes even a seemingly worthless plastic bag a costly item which nobody would carelessly throw away: "Who would throw $1Bz away"?
Last year plastic bags were even completely outlawed. You will need to have your own shopping bag, a re-usable shopping bag; not a big deal, or ? On our vacation here we also brought our re-usable shopping bag with us. Our environmental consciousness was forced on us by a responsible and proactive local government.
To outlaw plastic bags was good and one of many necessary steps to protect our city, the environment and the planet. The result: It will be hard for anyone to find carelessly thrown away plastic within our city limits. This cleanliness is also good for our city's tourism, it looks pretty clean everywhere.
On your vacation island the lack of education and unawareness about environmental issues seems to still be high, unfortunately. Dozens of times we've seen carelessly thrown away bottles, plastic bags and Styrofoam, in nature and on road sides.
In addition and rather unfortunately for this island there is tons of plastic arriving on beaches every day. All together it is hurtful for the island's tourism and income. It hurts in our eyes.
But one moment during our vacation topped it all:
At a store the cashiers packed our purchased groceries automatically in these ugly, black and environmentally bad plastic bags. When I gave the plastic bags back and told the cashier that I had brought my own re-usable shopping bag, she acted immediately and took my merchandise out of the plastic bags and took the plastic bags back.
Thereafter she threw the plastic bags into the trash can. That says it all! She must have thought that my re-usable shopping bag was just a fashion statement :)
In general, we were rather disappointed with the very low environmental standards and that includes the horrible traffic conditions on roads and in town. There should not be any excuse for the vacation island of Ambergris Caye and blessed with a successful growth rate not to adopt higher standards and induce tourists for a return visit. With the current low standards, this will be hard. The island earns most of its money from tourists and should act more consciously and sustainable.
Karen & Lex
San Francisco, CA