By Paula Manoli-Gray
Citizens of Larnaca may have noticed – or read about – the new improvements made to some of Larnaca’s road islands and roundabouts.
The landscaping has been undertaken for aesthetic reasons, as well as to improve air quality with added greenery, and is sponsored by private companies.
In addition to these changes, the municipality has also been sprucing up roadsides and pavements.
It’s great to see these enhancements made, and they do indeed contribute to a more attractive town.
Or at least they will do for a short time, until the good people of Larnaca decide to destroy this hard work with a continued disregard to keeping the town clean and maintained.
For some reason, a large proportion of citizens believe that roadsides and pavements are public dustbins, there to either let a dog foul, or to throw rubbish at or on – preferably from a moving vehicle.
Add to this the disgusting penchant of youth to graffiti anything with a large enough surface, and a joy for vandalising parks, and no amount of effort on the part of the authorities can keep Larnaca looking good for very long (tourist parts exempted).
My heart broke the other day when I came home to find the park directly next door to my house quite literally trashed.
The bench was smashed to bits; the park sign and dustbin both removed (and missing); hose pipes that are in place to water the trees had been hacked at – as had tree roots.
The cherry on the top was the graffiti on the wall my home shares with the park. I cannot comprehend why people do this.
Some girls at the park were also distraught, telling me that the group of teenage boys had also destroyed another park over the road, and others in the wider vicinity.
These boys do not live in the neighbourhood – they just go from park to park in the area, smashing them up for fun.
And if you make an effort to observe the roadside as you drive along some of the main streets and dual carriageways, you will be shocked to see how many discarded drinks cans and bottles, wrappers, food packages and cartons there are.
They litter the entire length of roadside and road dividers – the very things that the municipality are trying to spruce up with the planting of greenery.
The sad story this sight tells is of drivers who – rather than keep their rubbish in their car until they find a bin (at home or at work wouldn’t be that hard) – prefer to casually chuck it out of their window as they whizz along… out of sight, out of mind and all that.
Dog owners – and a failure to use the provided dog poop bins provided – deserve a whole chapter to themselves… Interestingly, this is an issue that crops up repeatedly at the meetings the mayor has with individual neighbourhoods each week.
The good news is that the municipality will be announcing measures soon.
And of course, there are graveyards of white goods, where empty plots in residential streets have been designated as unofficial rubbish dumps.
Quite frankly, the level of rubbish and decay is beyond reasonable levels, and we need to step up public awareness, as well as punishment.
In the meantime, at least our roundabouts look nice!