• Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

OP-ED: Common sense is not so common

  • Published at 05:50 pm March 6th, 2021
Dhaka hawkers

Do we stop to think about the consequences of our actions on the environment around us?

Common sense is the basic level of practical knowledge and judgment that we all need to help us live in a reasonable and safe way. This is indispensable in our everyday life. People devoid of common sense are sure to be censured everywhere. But this common sense is really getting uncommon among the people around us nowadays.

It is very usual that when you hurt somebody unwillingly, you will say sorry and when you are favoured by someone, you will show them gratitude by giving thanks. Additionally, you will greet others by offering salam or saying hello. But this practice is getting very uncommon in our society. 

Once I was returning home in a bus. A man, while going to the back from the front of the bus, hit my head with his elbow perhaps unwillingly. Since I was hurt very badly, I was wincing in pain. But that man did not either say sorry or even turn back to see how I felt. 

Elderly people comprise of almost 7.5% of our country’s population, and their number is increasing considerably, as the overall quality of life has increased a lot for many reasons. These people, known as senior citizens, and they deserve sympathy and care from the young, energetic ones. They are given priority in almost all countries in getting seats on public transport. But in our country, they are often seen standing inside crammed buses or trains, with huge difficulty, while many young people continue to sit. 

Banana and mango peels are slippery in nature. They may cause serious accidents if someone steps on them. But these slippery peels are often thrown on walkways. Once, a relative of one of my colleagues came to Dhaka to see a patient who was admitted in BIRDEM hospital for treatment. But he fell in a serious accident after slipping on a banana peel left in the street and this tore his ligament off. 

How pathetic it is when a completely fit and healthy person succumbs to sudden disability due to the lack of sense of some senseless people. If you advise them to discard these peels in the right place, they will start mocking you. 

Many city-dwellers throw their garbage wherever they can. If we just look at the drain lines, then we will find everything, including polythene, bottles, cans, torn cloth, shoes, bags, pillows, blankets, tin, wood, and brick inside, and these kinds of objects block the smooth flow of wastewater. Our city turns into a river after just one hour’s rain due to such callous actions. Spending millions for ensuring the smooth flow of sewerage/drain water goes in vain.   

Footpaths are for pedestrians to walk safely. But these walkways are always kept occupied by hawkers. Building developers often keep their construction materials, including iron rods, brick, cement, sand, etc in the footpaths. Tea stalls are sometimes set up on the footpaths, and the benches for the customers to sit on are also on footpath. 

Footpaths are sometimes kept unusable, with people urinating or even defecating there. Pedestrians are compelled to go along the roads where the speedy motor vehicles run, and this creates vulnerability for them. 

Over-bridges that the government always urges people to use for crossing roads are often occupied by hawkers or loiterers, dissuading people from using the bridges. 

Building developers often carry on their construction work, not setting the safety nets around the building under construction. Welding sparks, completely exposed, are sometimes found to fall on the road, and this may cause burn injuries to pedestrians. 

Smokers continue smoking even while walking through the crowded area. Smokers smoke before the non-smokers even without asking permission, which makes a lot of people passive smokers, though they do not ever smoke. Spitting in public places, though prohibited in many countries, is done everywhere. 

Motor vehicle drivers use horns for no reason, even in front of educational institutions or hospitals where silence is required. 

Some vehicles use hydraulic horns even in the city areas, and this can make the city-dwellers go deaf. The average sound level in the prime areas of Dhaka city is 80-110dB, which is almost twice the maximum noise level that should be tolerated by humans.  

Common sense, though a very pivotal social ethic, is uncommon everywhere all around us, because people often disregard it, thinking it an issue of very low priority, which in turn creates a lot of problems. So, the practice of common sense everywhere is in urgent need, and its start should be with ourselves. 

Local government bodies and civil society should come forward in raising the public consciousness about practicing common sense. There should be lessons in practicing common sense in our children’s textbooks, which may result in creating a civilized nation in the future. 

Since many of our people are of the habit of not practicing common sense, government may also think of making new laws to get the people to act more civilized.

Kazi Abdul Mannan is a Joint Director of Bangladesh Bank. Email: [email protected]

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