Have a fabulous 2012


Gaga: Rest in Peace (b.2002 - d.2010)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Grievances on Cleanliness in Islamabad: Sanitation Department of CDA

Hardworking Cleaning Staff of CDA's Sanitation Department, Islamabad

During my stay in Islamabad, I made sure that the neighborhood's cleanliness be maintained. Neighbors (especially shopkeepers and their families living in apartments on or under the shops) here are quite comfortable throwing garbage bags in front of others' house and particularly if it is located in front of the green belt. If you have a market (big or small) close-by then it is definitely going to add misery to your life.

Cleaning campaign by CDA

I called Sanitation Department of CDA, Islamabad (Capital Development Authority) over one hundred times, only 7% of the times action was taken in that regard. I wanted them to fine/penalize the residents for throwing garbage all over the place in spite of regular visit of janitors door to door but was told by the Director that CDA does NOT have the power to fine the people. Viola!

Scavenger's horse grazing

How will we ever have the writ of law in a country like Pakistan where people know that they can get away with everything....even killing a person or burning a person alive  to minor stuff like throwing garbage anywhere and justifying it in the name of Allah or whatnot.

Garbage being picked up by CDA: A very wrong method which will make the janitor a lifetime back-ache patient (change the damn trollys)

I called my residential area's supervisor for sanitation and also the cleaning staff. They told me that people are abusive and are even ready to beat them up. I fully understand the situation hence, I gave up on the staff. I called Chairman CDA's office. They were kind enough to listen to me and referred me to Director General Civic Management: Mr. Rawal. I submitted written applications. Actions were taken, cleaning campaign kicked off and lasted until 8:00pm in the evening (I'm thankful to them)  but then this is NOT the solution that may last long-term. Here, I have to say that everything is based on short-term solutions, sadly.

Scavenger woman in search of recyclable garbage in Islamabad

I believe that in this particular case, solution lies in punishing the culprits. This is a time tested rule worldwide. Singapore is the world's cleanest city/country. Why? Are people law abiding or genetically different from the rest? NO. Laws are tough & are enforced. In Singapore, heavy fines, punishments and penalties are something you can NOT escape from and hence, resulted in creating the cleanest city of the world.

Cleanliness is close to Godliness...I guess???
In a Pakistani culture where mosques, madrassas and mullahs have increased a thousand times in the past 10 -15 years, society per se has become less God-fearing and more mullah-fearing. It is very, very unfortunate. Looking deep, Islam's philosophy revolves around self reflection and considering God (Allah ) as supreme. Man - God relationship is direct without any intermediary. This doesn't seems to be the case anymore.

Lal Masjid: Melody Chowk - Islamabbad

The other day, at the end of Jummah (Friday) prayers, the Imam asked on a loud speaker to pray for Mr. XYZ to have children since his wife couldn't bear a child for the past 3 years. I was literally shocked to hear that but what I want to say is: would our Imam also add up to his priorities - the importance of keeping a clean neighborhood, not throwing garbage etc. to his sermons and doa?

Mosques in Pakistan have failed to give back to the society as much as they could. They have surely taken a lot. NOT once in a khutbah have I heard the Imam of a mosque to focus on some meaningful topics to address and there is plenty to talk about. All I heard was: give us money we have to expand the mosque and thus, build yourself a house in heaven....!  Mosque (masjid) is a place where people can really learn a lot - historically, it was a hub of social networking and also a seat of learning. Organizing lectures on basics topics such as cleanliness and good moral values through Imams can be a very effective and good start but that is NOT the agenda of mosques - Jihad is. Family of the Imam and the moazzan of our neighborhood mosque throw garbage on the main street. I witnessed his young daughter doing so. What will he teach  to others?? Charity begins at home...right?

I told the Director General of Civic Management  (CDA), that people are very offended by me. Since, we are in a habit of abusing, torturing, throwing acid at, killing, shooting or burning people alive - I see myself as a potential target when I leave home for morning walks. With this fear in my head, I continued my daily walks and was stubborn to tell people not to throw garbage here and there, if and when I saw that happening. Nevertheless, this is really NOT the cause worth dying for! My close friends and family said to me again and again: come back alive, please. I can NOT guarantee anything but then, life is in God's hand.I know HE is watching over me. I'm NOT asking too much, though.

I hope people realize that clean mind, house, street, neighborhood, city and country are really a blessing and no wonder, Islam has emphasized on it, again and again.
I wish, people could understand this simple yet beautiful idea!

Maybe in Ramadan, we will learn to practice this habit of NOT throwing garbage all over the place except the designated bins. Abide by law, I know that it is hard in a lawless country but still. Technically, it  takes 15 days only to make something your lifelong  habit. I will surely pray for that...

I'm utterly grateful to CDA management for addressing my grievances but they MUST CHANGE the rules of the game!

How to get to Directorate of Sanitation, CDA, Islamabad: It is across from Lal
Masjid, A huge board will indicate the directions. The sector is G-6/1-3.