KARACHI: The polythene bags flew in the direction the wind blew and got stuck in the wild grass growing by the footpaths in a Defence Housing Authority (DHA) neighbourhood. There were many of them adding to the rubbish already there. But things may change soon after the Blue Jacket Movement (BJM) officially kicks off in district South from Monday.
The motto of the BJM is ‘Say no to open littering’. The movement was announced on Independence Day at a ceremony at Clifton’s Teen Talwar, hosted by Deputy Commissioner South Saeed Salahuddin, and attended by provincial ministers, officials from the Karachi commissioner’s office and law enforcement agencies along with some active members from civil society and showbiz personalities. All of them spoke about the need for spreading awareness about open littering.
It was explained that the movement would initially start from district South to later spread to the rest of the city.
“Our aim is to change the mindset of the people through this movement and teach them about civic sense,” the DC South told Dawn on Saturday.
Blue Jacket Movement will spread to other areas of the city
“Open littering is a big menace here, if you think about it. You see educated people in big cars rolling down their windows to just throw out empty packets of potato crisps or cold drink bottles and juice boxes as they drive by. This is how garbage accumulates. It needs to change. The people need to understand the harm they are themselves causing to their surroundings and the environment this way and learn to act responsibly,” he said.
“The government may be blamed for not doing anything about the lifting of garbage, but people should also accept their part in littering all over the place instead of throwing garbage in dustbins,” he pointed out.
13,000 new dustbins
He also said that for the purpose they were placing 13,000 new dustbins for the people to throw trash in. He also said that with the public awareness campaign already under way through advertisements, they will be starting the movement officially from the Boat Basin area in Clifton.
“Though district South is a big area including Clifton, DHA, Saddar, Lyari, etc, our volunteers are going to start from Boat Basin where they will be talking to restaurant owners and shopkeepers along with the general public about the hazards of open littering,” he said.
“We need compliant markets for the movement to be successful. Then such markets can act as role models for other markets as it becomes easier too for the authorities to lift garbage,” he added.
The DC also said that after the success of the ‘Say no to open littering’ movement their next aim would be spreading awareness about recycling. “In educated societies people keep three bins for separately disposing glass, paper and plastic. It is called source segregation,” he said.
Simultaneously, the government is also going to ban the use of polythene bags from Oct 1 for which it has also started an awareness campaign ‘Say no to plastic bags’.
The decision was taken at a meeting presided over by Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah earlier this month where it was said that the government will impose Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code on the use of plastic bags across Karachi while encouraging people to use paper bags or bags made of cloth to carry groceries and other stuff from now on.
Published in Dawn, August 18th, 2019