May 13, 2008, 5:36 AM
(Issue, Friday 27 March 2015)
Tomorrow is another occasion for the regular National Cleansing Exercise. As we plan for it, let us have this in mind: we have made significant strides in keeping our environment healthy over the years, mainly as a result of the monthly cleansing exercise, also known as set settal, introduced by the President and the government of the day.
This has contributed greatly to keeping our environment healthy and safe, so that our nation is commended internationally for doing well in health and hygiene.
A case in point is the 2015 African Leaders Malaria Alliance award (ALMA) for excellence in implementation of vector control, given to seven countries in Africa including The Gambia, at the recently concluded 24th Ordinary Session of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
However, we still have a long way to go in maintaining a clean and healthy environment, as we continue to irrationally pour or dispose of our dirt and rubbish on the streets and other public places in our towns and communities.
For instance, we have developed the habit of pouring and throwing filth on the streets and public places so much that we don’t even calculate the degree of dirtiness and health hazard we cause ourselves.
It is just too simple or normal for people or passengers in a taxi and other commercial vehicles to throw through the window dirt and filth of any kind on the street, as they move on. Pedestrians and residents of compounds do the same outside of premises.
It could be groundnut shells, coconut shells, mango seed, cigarette stick, paper, food or juice can, anything disposable; and we are fine with that.
These things cause serious dirt and filth in our environment and cause us health hazard, which gives a negative impression about our person and nation. They sell the image of our nation badly, especially to visitors and strangers. A guest, they say, sees more in an hour than a host in a year. So we must be mindful of our environment.
There is an anti-littering Act in place with penalties for disposing filth and dirt just anywhere in our environment and around town, but it hardly bites or even barks at offenders.
However, as decent people, we would do ourselves so much good if we could stop this negative habit, and be mindful of how and where we dispose the dirt and filth we generate.
Drivers, especially of commercial vehicles, apprentice and passengers should practise resisting the temptation of throwing our rubbish or dirt out of the window of vehicles, when travelling or driving.
We should keep our dirt in a safe place to be disposed of in an appropriate location marked for that.
Furthermore, to control this habit, it is essential that we maintain dust-bins and trash cans/containers at strategic and public places to dispose of the dirt we generate, for onward clearance by public workers of area councils and departments responsible for that.
Again there is need for the general public, the private sector, CSOs, NGOs, and other donors to intensify their support, as well as direct some amount of corporate social responsibility - CSR support, to this endeavour of procuring and placing dust-bins and trash cans around town for easy access to dirt depositories.
The government can’t do it all alone.
We should all put hands on deck to curb this menace, and keep our environment and cities and country clean. It is essential for our health, and it is also a show of decency, intelligence and Godliness.
“Cleanliness is next to Godliness.”
THE FREEDOM FORUM