By Kenton X. Chance
Many people in St. Vincent and the Grenadines would think motorbikes when they hear that name.
However, today, I want you to think “garbage”.
Garbage collection, in particular.
This Japanese city of 1.5 million people spends 18 million yen of tax revenue to collect garbage annually.
That is about US$124 million — or just under one-third of the national budget of St. Vincent and the Grenadines for 2018.
Each resident’s contribution is about US$89 per year.
Compare that to the US$20 or so each household pays for garbage collection in St. Vincent and the Grenadines
In Kawasaki, located just south of Tokyo, residents are asked to sort their household garbage.
Specific types of garbage are collected on different days.
Building superintendents double check to ensure compliance.
Break the rules and your garbage is rejected.
One of the reasons is that Kawasaki is big on recycling.
Forty tonnes of mixed paper and 35-40 tonnes of plastic get a new life every day.
In this process, plastics of the type that goes into landfills in St. Vincent and the Grenadines would become clothes hangers, trays and other household items in Japan.
Paper gets a new life as toilet tissue and cardboard.
There are many differences — cultural, economic, and otherwise — between Japan and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
But one undeniable similarity is that at the heart of any garbage problem — or solution — is the individual: people like you and me.