Let Us Come Together To Fight Flooding By Saying No To Littering

Today, with a little rain, the place gets flooded and even lives are lost. We easily blame it on the government for not putting drainage systems in our localities. Yet, we forget or fail to acknowledge the fact that the citizens are also contributors to this menace. Most of these floods occur as a result of our drainage system being choked with filth. Yet we continue to litter everywhere without shame. Littering has become the norm and a canker difficult to get rid of though it should not be the case. Interestingly, people are happy when the rains come because they get to dispose of their rubbish freely. Little do they think about where it would end up. After we cause destructions, we call on government to do what we were supposed to do. When it rains, it’s even embarrassing to see all that waste floating atop the running water.

One thing I have observed about people’s littering attitude is that they do it unconsciously. They are wired to get rid of things they do not need (of course it is not a bad thing to dispose of things you do not need) but do not think about where they do the disposing and that’s where we have a problem.

How do we get them to change this behavior? First remember it is unconscious so you have to first conscientize them. You cannot do so by writing notices because they will read and still litter with nothing moving them to obey the notice.

You can conscientize them by talking to them and remember you do not have to talk to them on the spot at the time they are littering because embarrassment from being confronted will only make them defensive and they won’t listen to you.

Remind them during their happy moments in a nice conversational tone. Let them ask themselves how they will feel if they have to wake up every morning to sweep litter made by others. How will they feel if their compound looks dirty because of other people’s litter? How will they feel if they are tagged dirty because of someone’s misdeeds? How will they feel if thanks to their littering, someone falls sick and even dies from cholera or typhoid or other diseases (that’s if they do not care about falling sick themselves). What if your littering caused gutters to choke and flooding to occur leading to loss of lives and homes? Of course you will underestimate the fact that your littering can cause this but you are also a contributor.

At least if you cannot contribute to the neatness of the environment, try not to contribute to its dirtiness. Let the place be how you came to meet it at least (even if it was already dirty) and you are not ready to clean it up. The fact that the place was already dirty does not mean it needs you to make it dirtier.

While littering the place, have you ever thought of the person who will come and clean up that mess? What if it’s someone’s poor grandma /grandpa? Even if it’s their jobs (the excuse people use to litter) it does not give you the right to make the environment dirty while you wait for others to clean up that mess. Let us be one another’s keeper.

Every time you litter the place, it means the world would continue to be littered in generations to come because as you litter, there is a child who is unconsciously learning from you and seeing your actions as right since you are the adult and a child has no ability to really judge morality. This child will start littering at a tender age and grow with it thereby passing it to the next generation if not conscientized. Next time you see kids littering the place remember you are also a contributor.

It will take time to be fully conscious but I hope this stirs up something in you to start seriously thinking about the repercussions of your actions. Let’s do the right thing always at least if not for anything for the sake of those who will be learning from you.

Yes, I have talked about littering, some will definitely use the excuse that there are no places available for disposing rubbish but that is no excuse at all because there are people who will litter even close to a dustbin. If you want to succeed in anything, avoid making excuses and put in conscious effort.

I would rather my bag was full of rubbish than litter the place because I know the value of having a clean environment. Some will think it will be best to litter the place than keep rubbish in one’s bag. However, with the bag, its temporary since you will dump its content when you get a dustbin but with littering, it might remain where you left it and never get swept thereby serving as breeding ground for flies and disease causing agents.

As muslims, we should even be advocates of cleanliness yet we see the opposite though the Prophet (S.A.W) tells us that cleanliness is part of faith.

We can all be agents of change. Tell that man to pick up that bottle he just threw away. Tell that woman about the repercussions of dumping refuse around. Tell your child it’s not normal to throw waste anywhere. We can change, once we put our minds to it. It might appear a small effort but a collection of small efforts can do wonders.


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