A sign post on Soller beach. | Ashlee Caliz

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These days I take a walk with my two sons every evening along the coast when the temperatures are lower. As we have a general conservation one of my sons asked the question, “dad, what has gone wrong with the people?” Then I asked for further clarification of his question since it was too broad and this was what he had to say, “people are throwing trash everywhere.” I could not say anything further except to totally agree with him. His observations are very correct.

The level of littering is as disturbing in the streets of Palma and one wonders as to what has happened to the ethos of responsible citizenship. Littering is even higher in our beautiful beaches which are now characterized by cans of beverages, bottles, packets of cigarettes, bottle tops, plastics, papers, and food stuffs. I have seen some families and other groups of people having their dinner at the beach but leaving the place in a mess after their sumptuous meals.

It seems as if the city authorities are being overwhelmed by the level of littering as some of the litter will be visible in the same place for two days or more. Littering waters down the beauty of our Island and it needs urgent attention. Do you know that it is offense in the Spanish law to throw litter everywhere?

In the past months, people have been slapped with fines in the range of 300 Euros for throwing their used face masks everywhere. Vigo's beach bylaws have heavy penalties for polluting beaches. As the world embarks on Sustainable Development Gaols, issues of environment are not left out. For examples, Sustainable Development Goals 6, 13, 14, and 15 are directly related to our environment. No sustainable development can take place in a depleted environment. People should however not be conditioned by laws in way they relate with their environment. We should care for our environment like the way we care for our children and pets.

Looking after our environment is our God given responsibility going back to the creation story. We are called to be good stewards of God's creation and failure to do so we suffer the effects of environmental changes. We are stewards because the universe belongs to God and we are part of the created order with responsibilities of looking after it. Good stewards therefore care and tend after the environment for the good of our wellbeing and future generations.

This is the reason why environmental issues are taken seriously in the holistic mission of the church and every year the month of September is dedicated to the stewardship of the environment under the banner of the Season of Creation. Many of the times when we are hit hard by natural disasters we quickly apportion blame to God and to external forces. We rarely do an introspection of how we are relating to our surroundings. Instead of living in harmony with our environment, we have plundered and by doing that we are shooting ourselves on the leg.

Negative effects on the environment will not affect God but will hit back on us. Besides harming our environment, littering is a health hazard as well. As the church we call for a responsible stewardship of our environment for a sustainable future and development. Our Island is beautiful and with spectacular views that attracts millions of people every year. We need to guard jealously that beauty and preserve it for future generations. We also call on our beloved visitors to also preserve the beauty of this Island by maintaining high levels of hygiene. Let it be everyone´s responsibility to
keep our Island in its splendour. God bless our Island and protect it from plunder.