Friday, September 25, 2009

Protect: Government and community must preserve landmarks

Protect: Government and community must preserve landmarks

September 26, 2009

The garbage marring the Old Spanish Bridge in Agat shows that the government and community must do a much better job at preserving and protecting the island's historical places and landmarks.

Historical and cultural sites are an important part of our tourism industry, which is the engine that drives our economy. We need to better ensure that when foreign visitors stop by the places that show Guam's unique history, they aren't greeted by mounds of litter, abandoned appliances and furniture or reeking public restrooms.

But these places aren't just important to tourism. All of us, as a community, benefit from these sites. They showcase our history, remind us of our past and serve as teaching tools for future generations to learn more about Guam. It's critical that we preserve these places for ourselves and our children, and keep them pristine and presentable.

We should all feel outrage when someone vandalizes or litters historical locations and landmarks. Would Parisians ignore junked appliances at the Eiffel Tower? Would New Yorkers tolerate abandoned couches and other household junk at the foot of the Statue of Liberty?

Our government has a duty and responsibility to care for the island's monuments and landmarks, to remove garbage and debris from historical sites as soon as possible, and to keep them clean.

But the Guam community also must do its part. That means cleaning up after ourselves after visiting these sites. It means not allowing others to casually trash our island, including reporting those who would so callously denigrate our landmarks.

If you want to take a more proactive role, check with your village mayor to see what you can do to help. Lend your labor to repaint buildings, rake up leaves or pick up trash. Donate painting materials, garbage bags, or even drinks for those doing the work.

The more responsibility we take, the cleaner and more beautiful our island becomes -- for our visitors, and ourselves and our children.

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