June 8, 2014

Our Urban Condition

Throwing waste onto the street is an uncivilized act by any modern standard. I was aghast as a tourist the other day just threw away an empty juice packet onto Chaandhanee-magu with the ease of one tossing a piece of waste into a trash bin or garbage dump. Perhaps not surprisingly, the tour-guide with this man also did little to object. Well, how could he when this crude behavior has now become so commonplace on Male streets. Yes indeed! It makes little sense to the perpetrator to behave differently when everyone else has no qualms either to litter with impunity.  It is therefore what we allow that is happening to our nation. Obviously, this young Maldivian guide with t-shirts and blue jeans attire and sunglasses to complement this, and not to be outdone, dangling a cigarette from his lips was also another local perpetrator. Missing from his repertoire was only an energy drink in his hand. Obviously he was not a guide to the ways of Maldives but just an attendant to show the tourist around to where they could see and shop.

With this fast abounding habit, Male is indeed becoming one big trash bin. My blogs have highlighted this issue many a time. Perhaps to many of my readers who visit Rukkuri blog would think “here he goes again’. But dear reader, the job of people like me is to remind, and remind I shall do for Male is my home too.  

This year’s world environment day highlights sea-level rise as its maxim. While it is a topic very close to our hearts in Maldives, the more immediate need of cleaning up Male seems more urgent to my mind. Yes, sea level rise will happen as the scientists predict, for this warming will no doubt melt the world's ice-caps that form megatons of water that will --as they say -- raise the level of the sea some three meters. Our home will indeed be a totally watery environment by then where waterways, not streets will be the way to our movement from place to place and where our architecture would have perhaps adjusted to the changing surroundings. Hopefully, by then, the city councils of that era may have found a good solution to rounding up the garbage that would be floating around and that could --if not -- become a nuisance to the other nations that surround us.

There I get carried away -- let’s get back to today. So who is concerned with the litter of today?  Male has little of its original residents. Immigrants have filled it to the brim and given the nature of immigrants, they take time adjust and to feel that it is their home. But then again, perhaps this may never be, as this type of immigration as we witness in Male, is only temporary. So, who else to assist this city but the city council; you must be our saviors – good souls looking beyond the petty concerns of party and politics!  Let's make added resolve to make Male our home; not just a temporary sojourn. Those who are here on sojourn also may need to begin appreciating the value of another's home.


Anonymous said...

A little emphasis to this story! My 2 little children are educated and brought-up in Europe which has no particular value to religion, tradition or custom. We were traveling in a high speed boat 180km to north in Maldives. Just after a drink my daughter handed me the empty packet after holding for very long time not finding a trash bin the vessel, thinking I will dispose it correctly, to assure her confidence I handed it over to a crew to put in the trash bin, to the shock of all, the moment it touched his hand he throw it in to the sea in front of my 7 years old daughter making her emotional, after knowing all her efforts has been disrespect. However they are educated in school in away ( best practice) that they wont throw away litter on the street even simple as a cover of a sweet, a chewing gum, piece of tissue or even a spit to be mindful. This is wishing well to self and to the community and others. If we throw trash in to our own streets and parks, well be my guest and live in it as well. Barbarians are truly remain as barbarians. Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late.

Abdul Sattar Yoosuf said...

just as it should in a changing Maldives. Pathetic but true. Thanks for this emphasis. We need to work our bit of advocacy by this kind of write up of banding with NGOs. A youth group that I observed the other day gave me a lot of confidence. But the mountain is there to climb still, given that we have allowed this mountain of (trash) to pie up over these many years of irresponsible city management. Will relate in next blog