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July 13, 2017

Litterbugs are on the rise in the city

Islamabad

July 13, 2017

Rawalpindi :Littering on the Rawalpindi streets fuelled by burgeoning consumerism and laziness is taking its toll on hygiene, house prices and the environment. Dustbins are all around the city but many litterbugs justify their habit by saying they feel sick of taking the waste a few meters ahead where the dustbin is placed.

“I think waste like plastic bottles, packets and wrappers, stem from a need to show off consumption. Over-consumption is thought as a sign of modernity. This idea is perpetuated by electronic media advertising where such items with unnecessary packaging are shown as desirable,” says Ansar Abbas from Dhoke Muhammad Khan.

“Littering has become a habit with people. The more they litter, the more it becomes a habit. Once litter starts to pile up, people don’t bother adding to the litter. Sometimes the garbage bin is just across the road but people are too lazy to cross the street,” says Yasmin Rizvi, a housewife from Fazal Town.

“The RWMC works hard to clear litter and maintain the network to the expected standards only to see litter appear quickly again at some locations due to the anti-social behavior of a minority of city residents,” says Hamid Reza from Tajabad.

“The culprits are not just teenagers but even 21 to 35 age group litters more than the 50 and up age group. Survey also shows that men litter more than women. In some traditional settings, daily cleaning is believed to be an uncontested duty of the women. This kind of cultural influence inhibits littering-prevention actions,” says Munza Hussain from Faisal Town.

Amina Naqvi from Mangraal Town says: “I assume that teaching your children not to litter is also a way of eradicating this menace. Once they grow up this good habit will grow with them as well. It’s a way of teaching respect for the city and its residents. It isn't difficult to educate your children to put waste in a bin or in their pocket until they find a bin when no bin is near. If your town or locale is clean and litter-free you will be respected more.”

“Buyers love well-kept neighborhoods, and if there is an ongoing issue with litter, this will create a perception that the area isn’t ideal, which will in turn reduce house prices in the area. Why don’t the litter droppers think,” says Mohsin Reza from Airport Housing Society.

“The problem is serious and distressing. I can’t even describe how sad it is to see the streets being used as a place to dispose of dirty nappies. Our challenges are not in terms of capacity, but in changing attitudes, which is something we should try to do through education programs. The city is cleaned at night and remains clean until commuters arrive,” says Zeeshan Taqi from Dhoke Hafiz.

“People tend to think dropping one small piece of litter will not make a difference, but every single dropped item plays a part in contributing to a much bigger problem. The power to change this lies in the hands of residents,” says Aziz Hasan from Dhoke Lilyaal.

“As far as I am concerned I will put the waste in my bag or pocket till I find a bin to dispose of it. Even on a bus I won't just throw my litter on the floor. It’s  my second nature, I do it without thinking. It's all to do with your upbringing,” says Ambreen Zaidi from Gulzare Quaid. 

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