Opinion

Dumping of rubbish on streets of the city

By Akol Arop Akol

Something caught my attention while moving around seventh Days roundabout. I saw a man being beaten almost to death. Though I was in hurry, I stopped to watch the scene while other spectators were standing far away, and they watched helplessly as if it was a free movie. 

A man wearing tone-trouser and a vest was rushing towards the area from the main Ministries Road in hurry while some two men were running behind him. They chased and grabbed him by belt, shirt and started slapping him. One of them picked a bamboo stick and started beating the man holding a nylon bag with his left hand while begging for forgiveness or rescue with the other hand. The two men tried to show their manhood and braveness by beating up the man like a thief and that’s what bystanders might thought of. I stood to observe the drama but didn’t understand why that was happening. Another man parked his motorbike and joined to help the other two guys in. It was like they intentionally wanted to kill him. How they were mercilessly beating and insulting the man made the man cried out for help. He repeated “Haaay help me, they want to kill me, Ooo!” he cried a like a small boy. People were standing as if they like what was happening, no one even went for a rescue or to stop the fighting. I look around and saw most of the faces were smiling, others loudly laughing as they watched the funny beating and the cowardice loud cry of the man. I felt sympathetic and decided to walk forward to where they were, but the men carried the man backwards. I asked one of them who had a motorbike to tell me what the man had done wrong to be treated in such as embarrassing way. And he told me “He put rubbish near our fence.” Imagine only because of that he almost got killed! 

The place is just near Seventh Days which looks like a newly opened bar. The two men were standing near and forcing the man to collect the rubbish he dumped there. They were having sticks; one man also went and brought a long timber to beat up the man if he doesn’t collect the waste. I went closer and stood there for a while to understand it all. With complaining looks on my face, one of them realized that I wasn’t happy with how they were beating the poor man. So, he started talking yet I didn’t ask him. Down there, I saw a mixed rubbish, bottles, animal skins, bones, rotten tomatoes, onions, and different leftovers of foods which smelt so bad. 

“You see, he put this smelly waste here and wanted to escape, it is too bad. If it was wrapped up in a postbag, it would be at least fine.” he said while looking at me. I nodded my head and walked away because it was their right not to let their fence be dirtied.

While on my journey, I recalled the same thing I have seen on most of the streets in Juba. Civilians especially those doing businesses throw rubbish anyhow even in the middle of highways of the city. Some decide to pay drunkards little commission to carry waste materials in nylons and put them anywhere including near other people’s fences.

We have the same problem within the areas and on streets. It seems citizens are much caring about what to eat and wear without minding about their health. Development is not only when having a lot of jobs, cars and tall buildings. Our environment should be the first priority to have pure water, clean streets, grasses around fences and offices should be slashed and replaced with flowers, waste should be placed where appropriate, minimize air pollution, cut grass where people stay. These are few things we can do as citizens in order to have a safe environment.

It is a role of every citizen to care about their health and that of others. Keeping Juba clean as a capital city needs the City Council to carry out campaigns concerning how citizens can practice good sanitation. They need to be given awareness on how to keep their environment, houses and streets clean. There should be garbage zones where waste materials can be collected and then carried away by Juba City Council vehicles to far sites from the town.

In many business areas, there are food vendors working in dirty houses or rakuba. Inside is like a bush, disorganized and dirty yet people eat there. The water containers contain stains of dirt, they could have years without being washed. Take for example tea and chapatti places, some business people operate under trees and umbrellas but their food and drinks are not saved from dirt and dust. They care about making money only.

There is another issue of killing animals such as cats and dogs either intentionally or accidentally by vehicles. Some households kill dogs, tie them in a sack and throw on the street. This cannot be blamed on City Council because as I said that drunk men are paid money to go and deposit rubbish anyhow, it becomes difficult to control and protect the environment. The City Council needs to work hard and set rules that punish those who do dumping such that if one is found throwing a bottle or any waste material on street, would be held accountable and fined such that they don’t repeat.

There should also be containers on every street where people would through in bottles and little waste products. There should be specific sites in the markets for gathering rubbish where it can be collected by city council cars.

Instead of the Council focusing a lot on taxing small businesses, it should first prioritize good hygiene to be practiced by business people in the market as well as the entire citizens.

It needs a serious campaign to keep the city clean and green. Another way to keep environment safe from the plentiful waste everywhere is to bring in factories that recycle waste materials such as metals and plastics, it will better if the bottles on streets are collected and transformed into something important. Other metals could be used by blacksmiths to make garden tools good for cultivation.

The Writer can be reached on +211924652692 or on email: akolarop211@gmail.com

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