Litter and Graffiti at the Coastal Strip


During my recent visit to the Coastal Strip I was deeply disappointed to detect early signs of littering and graffiti in the newly inaugurated recreational area.  I don’t understand why we have to taint our public spaces.

For those of you learning English, let me define both terms:  littering and graffiti.

1.  Graffiti:  (noun) The plural form of graffito.  Derivative of Latin “graphium” stylus < Greek grapheion; cf. graphic, grapho, graft. Writing or drawings scribbled, scratched or sprayed on a wall or other surface in a public space.  A rude decoration inscribed on rocks, walls or other public spaces.

Examples:  The bench was covered with graffiti.  These graffiti are evidence of the neighborhood’s decline.

2.  Litter:  (noun) Trash, such as paper, cans, bottles, that is left in an open or public place.

Examples:  Fines for dropping litter.  We decided to pick up the litter at the Coastal Strip in an effort to keep it clean.

I’ve noticed a growing trend in Panama of throwing garbage on the ground, rivers, streams, alongside the roads and just about everywhere.  Most of the city is covered with an ugly blanket of paper, plastic bottles, old cars, dilapidated refrigerators and just about anything you can think of.  I’m getting sick and tired and depressed in having to see this growing culture of degradation and irresponsibility.

After a heavy rain, many areas of the metropolis are flooded caused by a clogged sewage system with tons of debris and other forms of garbage and industrial waste.  This has to stop if we want to become a role model for other countries that want to escalate to a first world country.  This obviously is not the way to do it.

As an evidence of littering and graffiti in the Coastal Strip, I took a picture of a soda container on a metallic bench with some graffiti on it.  I took the container and deposited in a nearby trash can where it belonged.  I tried to erase the writing on the bench, but no joy.  Perhaps with alcohol it would’ve rub off.  It was a very depressing sight.  I felt so embarrassed that foreign visitors could see what we are doing with our public facilities in a time frame of only 31 days.  This is not right.  It has to stop.  Now!  This is not who we are.  This is not the Panama we want.

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

4 thoughts on “Litter and Graffiti at the Coastal Strip”

    1. We’ve had similar campaigns in Panama for years, but somehow they don’t seem to work. I wonder what can we do to stop this mayhem. It’s really a problem that needs to be fixed, sooner than later.

      1. I hate to be so obvious, but this probably is just one more problem where the solution should start in the home. At least here in the States, so many of our problems are rooted there.

  1. That’s another social problem we also have to tackle, the disintegration of the family. With working parents, the kids are left at home with a neighbor or their grandfathers who are either too tired or too old to keep a tight grip on them. Frequently the family is only the working mother since the father has long left the nest.

    It’s not an easy problem, but somewhere there must be a light at the end of the tunnel.

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