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A culture of trash

  • Published at 10:53 pm December 14th, 2019
Plastic Bags
Representational Image Bigstock

Is littering an ethical problem for us?

Do you ever just throw rubbish randomly on the streets knowingly or unknowingly? Sometimes in our unconscious minds, we do so and definitely many of us will agree to it. 

After finishing a packet of chips, we throw it on the street instead of the trash can which is a few steps ahead of us. Because, why carry the rubbish around, right? 

This thinking has been infused in us. Dhaka has well over 10 million people living in it, and we all have the habit of littering. When you think about it, if every person throws one item of trash/rubbish on the street every day, it makes about 10 million items of trash lying on the streets -- that’s a lot of trash.

Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) mayors have been working together to make Dhaka a litter-free city. Is the combined dedication and action of these institutions enough for us to stop littering and make Dhaka clean again? 

When we look into this matter, in 2016, trash bins were installed on the streets of Mirpur, Banani, and around the Gulshan area. It was noticed that many bins were stolen. And many bins were destroyed. Trash was seen lying near the trash cans. 

This behaviour has been instilled in us since childhood, because we learn what we see. As small children, we were never taught in our schools or maybe even in our homes that trash is supposed to go in the trash can. Instead we saw our elders throw trash and spit on the streets. They also learned this behaviour from their elders and the cycle goes on. Littering on the streets indirectly affects us -- which we have no clear idea about. 

We complain daily while travelling anywhere in Dhaka that it is a very dirty city but we never think about the cause. The cause is us and our lack of ethical thinking towards littering. We might think that one piece of trash won’t make any change but when 10 million people think the same, it does make a change. 

So, why don’t we throw our trash in the trash cans from now on so that our future generation could learn from us. Let’s change our problem of littering and make Dhaka liveable.

Fariha Tasannum Ayshi is a freelance contributor.

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