Nairobi’s Waste Problem

So the National Transport and Safety Authority has said that all vehicles now should have dustbins so as to curb the plastic waste menace.

This is definitely one of the responses to the nightmare that has been Nairobi recently and quite frankly, has been an issue we have faced over and over again in the past years. A lot of people have commented about it and you know, more often than not, it ends there. So I ask myself, if I say something, what exactly will that solve? Will it be helpful?

Littering, to me, is just wrong. I’ve been taught to use dustbins and litter bins wherever I go. Granted in my early years as a child growing up in Nairobi, throwing away that plastic wrapper that came with my favourite lollipop or Lyons Maid ice cream bar on the streets without batting an eyelid was the norm. I never liked it. I always thought all the papers in the streets and on the roads made the environment look so ugly. Maybe it was my ADD talking or just the fact that I’ve always liked to pay attention to detail. I still didn’t like the idea of simply dropping that piece of paper on the ground. But I was young and I didn’t know better. So I kept my thoughts to myself.

When I grew older and well, wiser, I decided that I would try as much as possible to put away trash in the designated trash bins in the CBD. This was around the time the city council installed trash bins all around so it made things easier. But observing my fellow city mates still ignoring these bins made me sad. I never understood how someone would drop that piece of paper literally meters away from a trash bin! I felt like I could just call him/her out and force them to behave!

I have a feeling that if we want this trashing nonsense to end, it must start with ourselves. I mean, by the time a government authority has to instill a law that forces us to put litter in bins in our cars then it means our mindsets are way off when it comes to cleanliness. If we teach our kids that littering is wrong, that it is better to hold on to the trash until you get a trash bin, that keeping clean is good for our environment then we will have a generation that has such a mindset ingrained in them. Chances of people littering will definitely reduce. If we ourselves litter, then our children will copy us – that is a given!

Its an old adage, yes. But children learn from observing the adults around them.

We are to blame for the craziness in Nairobi. Not quite the city council. But as we all know, it is hard for human beings to take blame for such things.

I rest.

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