Sitting in my office one day, I couldn’t help but notice a colleague opening the window next to his seat and throwing a candy-wrapper out of it, without the slightest tinge of remorse. Tounge-in-cheek, I tried taking a dig at him, hoping to make him feel guilty (or at least a little bad) about doing what he had just done; “Naeem, this is our city, not a garbage can!”. To which he replied, “Oh, Karachi is one big dumpster; dirt everywhere, garbage piled up in every corner, flying along with the wind. What difference would my not throwing that wrapper have made?”
“Plenty”, I said, knowing full well that any further advice would fall on deaf ears.
I have put my garbage in places most people wouldn’t ever think of putting it in; Bag, trousers, shirt pockets, my wife’s purse, heck, even my car (yeah Mom! I’ll get it washed as soon as I get some free time). Unfortunately, you have to look really really hard for a proper garbage disposal unit when out-and-about in Karachi, so I have to resort to alternates until I can dispose it off properly. If I see someone I know attempting to commit this heinous crime (would you call it anything less?), I extend my hand, take the garbage, and put them in one of my special places. I get laughed at by my near and dear ones because of this little quirk; they call it an idiosyncrasy, maybe even an OCD, but I call it responsibility.
Biodegradable or not, I do not throw garbage out of my window, or onto the streets, PERIOD. I may not be the big environmentalist some might claim to be, but I firmly believe that keeping our city clean is the social responsibility of every sane citizen. It’s not that difficult, you know, once you set your mind to it. One person can make a huge difference, and thankfully for me, I have influenced some people to adopt this proper-garbage-disposal practice. Would you do the same if it were your own home? Think about it next time you throw something on the streets.