Monday, August 18, 2008

Litter Bug!

It was with a sigh of relief that I read in today's Jordan Times that a clean up campaign is to take place in Aqaba ... for long I have felt saddened at the total contempt our citizens have for the environment and for their cities where littering has become second nature, an integral part of life - and not just in Aqaba, but everywhere, especially after a public event, such as the various festivals at the King Hussein Park for example.
A beautiful old store front on a main road opposite the Mosque and the Municipal town square of Kerak

So when I read, "Jordan is taking part in the campaign, which is held in conjunction with the United Nations Environment Programme, for the 15th consecutive year," I get even more disturbed! Now, one could argue semantics here or one could really be worried. Does this statement mean that for the last fifteen years Jordan has been waging a losing battle .... or even worse does this mean that the UNEP has been running a programme that quite obviously doesn't work - in Jordan specifically?  

And then I remembered a businessman who took action to solve the litter problem around his factory.  He called into his office the young street vendor who set up shop outside the factory gates; he called on his five hundred employees and told them all one simple statement that went something like this: "I want you all to work and to live happy, fruitful lives with a good income.  I also want you to live in clean and beautiful surroundings with respect for one another and for the environment. But this won't happen unless we all work together.   So I am donating all the rubbish bins for our site inside these walls and outside these walls so that our working environment stays clean, please use these bins for all your rubbish.   But should any one of you continue to litter our public space and throw your rubbish under our feet, then I can and will make life very difficult for you."  And so with that, attitudes were changed practically overnight, the factory premises remain clean and the staff are happy.  And the boss did not have to lift one piece of litter off the floor.  This is corporate/social responsibility at work but on a small scale.  Just one question springs to mind: if we continue to clean up after people, how can we make them responsible? 

... and so it's time for another piece of prose:

The Litter Jitters

Look around the country and what do you see?
Nothing but rubbish surrounding me!
From North to South
East to West
The plastic bag rules the best!

The tin can slung from car and bus
and don't forget the boat!
For all around, near and far on land and under sea
What do we see? What do we see?
But nature struggling to be free.

As the mountain of junk grows wider
so too the turmoil of the mind;
the refuse of economics politicised
and greed and contempt sanitised,
as the shadow is caste over the land;
Yet we see it not; we see it not!

So where is the thought
before the toss
so callously defiling me ...
on TV? 
in print?
obviously not!

For it has gone, gone down the drain
15 years in the making!



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