Tourism vs. trash

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Editorial submission

By James Cane Walden

There’s an interesting contrast between the mono titís running along tree branches and fast food litter on the side of the highway, but it’s one that everyone witnesses on a daily basis. I’ve been wondering for quite a while how a country as unique as Panama, with its fantastic and diverse flora and fauna, is also the victim of littering. I suppose this would apply to just about anywhere in the world where trash is inevitable, but you would think that for a country that advertises its tropical environment as a tourist attraction and is known for its natural beauty, that Panama would be stricter on garbage disposal. As VisitPanama.com, the website run by the Panama Tourism Authority, puts it, “If ever there was time to visit Panama, this is it.” So there should be a push for cleaning up to help tourism grow stronger.

James Cane Walden was born in Alabama and moved to Panama in 2002. He is currently a high school student and a member of the Boy Scouts of America.

The business side of tourism relies on the basis that you must attract visitors to gain profit. What point is there in sightseeing if everything there is to see is all covered in trash? Without an ongoing appeal or an upheld reputation, the amount of tourists declines, and consequently, so does income. This logical conclusion from a financial perspective should be reason enough to convince people to abolish an ideology that “littering is okay”. Keeping Panama clean can not only protect the environment, but it also gives justice to Panama herself. Because of how beautiful Panama is naturally and culturally, this country deserves to be saved from unlawful disposal, especially at a time where Panama could potentially be in its touristic prime.

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