Friday, 20 May 2011

You want to Litter? Fine.

I know that Littering is a much repeated and reinforced topic, but what brings me to re-state the obvious here is my little experience today while I was in the car with my family outside a juice shop near hussain chowk, Gulberg (Lahore).

While waiting for our juice order, the car infront of us just spat out a disposable glass of juice. At that moment I and my family wished someone had done exactly to him what the video up here shows! My aunt almost got out of the car to correct those young teenage lads (as we later saw through the car) but she stopped short realising that they seemed the sort who would react foolishly. So alternatively she requested the juice shop waiter to pick up the litter which he willingly did.

This little incident got me in to thinking about ways to bring about a change in people's very casual attitude towards littering and I started looking into what other developed countries have been doing. During my search I also came across a concerned group of Pakistani's running the campaign called "Don't mess with Karachi" (, apparently inspired by 'Don't mess with Texas' ( one of the most impressive anti-litter campaigns (speaking creatively) and I was glad to see that someone somewhere in Pakistan is also trying to bring about this positive change. 

So with out going into much criticism (and assuming that MOST of us do act oblivious and immune to litter once in a while), I thought I'd play my little part in being the change I'd like to see around me. Here's my humble resolution & suggestion list:

Can we please:

1. Never throw litter out of the car, instead carry it home to our bins?

2. Always fold our gums into a paper and then throw them into bins? 

3. Not feel ashamed to point out to others that they've just littered? If difficult to correct them in person, can we instead pick up what we see thrown in front of us? That would certainly cause embarrassment for the litterer! 
4. Not squish our cigarettes on the road or pathway while walking. Neither toss them out of the car? 

I know the list could go on for ever - but if we could just start with those FOUR above and make them second nature to us, I'm sure our cities would be degrees cleaner than they are today. 

And if the Government really does want to make money out of the public, heavy littering fines should be a better way than increasing all kinds of other taxes. At least it will do some good to the country! 

P.S : Littering really is Uncool! 


  1. I think somebody upstairs heard your call...

  2. Hey ahmed, thanks for sharing this! Rs.50 is still very less but I think its good enough to start with! This is such an easily avoidable crime that the fine should be much higher I believe! And the real need is to discourage spoiled brats of the elite society, for whom Rs.50 is nothing against there foolish attitude and ego. The sad fact is that very well educated people also litter as if its nothing wrong!

  3. Great blog Fizza. It really maddens me too when i see people littering in Pakistan.

    Sadly I don't think fines can be imposed for this as it is so prevalent AND a lot of people don't think they are doing anything wrong. When my sisters-in-law would tell their driver not to throw rubbish out the window, he would look at them perplexed asking "why do you want to litter in the car?!".

    WHat you need is awareness raising and massive effective campaigns to change mindsets. Once you've done that, then fines would make sense. ALSO, when we still don't even have rubbish bins in a lot of public places, it's hard to encourage people not to litter.

    On a related theme, one thing I'm really passionate about is recycling. It would be great if the 'raddi' man can be 're-branded' and we can introduce recycling which is labour-intensive and can provide jobs for people rather than dependent on expensive technology. Littering just solves one end of them problem by getting the rubbish out of sight...but then it is either thrown on the outskirts of the housing society or town/city, burnt, left to rot and inevitably poisons the air, soil and water.

  4. Awesome blog, it's become such a norm in Pakistan that very few people actually realize that they are doing something wrong. Blogs like this is what we need. Keep it up :D

  5. thanks tamreez and asim. totally agree with the need for awareness campaigns and recycling facilitations! just fines cannot do the needful.