Zoha and her family moved to a new location in the city. Zoha was excited because most of her friends lived in the same street.

It was the first morning in their new house. She woke up early that day with a great smile on her face. She brushed her teeth and changed her pajamas. She went out on her balcony to get a fresh breeze. What she was expecting were ravishing, lovely birds chirping and beautiful greenery with fresh air, but instead it was complete opposite. There was garbage right outside their front gate, which stank so bad. There were no trees and instead of the sweet chirping of birds, there were infuriating traffic horns. Zoha was exasperated.

“What is this? Why can’t someone do anything about it?” she thought. Her bright smile turned upside down. She went inside the living room and asked her mum to make her breakfast. She sat on the dining table, thinking about what she could do about the pollution in her locality.

“If I call Alaya and Hazeema over, they will surely help me,” an idea struck her mind. Alaya and Hazeema were Zoha’s friends living close by. So when she told them about what she was thinking, they were surprised.

“Zoha! You’re such an idiot, this garbage has been lying there since ages, everyone throws it there. Once in a while the garbage truck comes and takes it away. So chill… it will be gone soon,” Alaya said.

“But it is our duty to clean our surroundings as well, we can’t wait for a truck that comes once in a while!” Zoha said firmly.

“I think Alaya is right,” Hazeema agreed with Alaya.

Zoha was disappointed, seeing that her friends won’t help her, decided to think of something else.

The next day at school, she went into her class and asked loudly, “Who’s fed up of stinking garbage?” This caught many girls’ attention.

“Who’s fed up of air pollution and the diseases spread by it?”

This time many girls answered, “Me!”

Zoha smiled and then said, “Then help me get right of it, help me pick it up! That’s the best thing we can do. We will all go to other classes and ask if they’d want to join us. I am sure we are soon going to get rid of this filth!”

In the break time, they all went to other classes, and by the end of the school day, Zoha had gathered almost 25 girls ready to help her. The day before cleaning, the girls took out their pocket money and bought garbage bags, masks, gloves and shovels. They decided to start their work early in the morning on the coming Sunday.

The day came and the girls met outside Zoha’s house. They picked up every single plastic bag, glass bottle, wrapper and cleaned their streets. It was very tiring; the girls continued their work for some more days, and caution everyone to throw garbage in the bins. The girls made sure that they separated all the things that could be recycled, like plastic and paper.

Word about the good work the girls did for the environment spread to other areas, and people visited the street to see how and what the girls have done. Soon the city mayor came to know about the efforts of the girls and he decided to meet and see for himself. When he arrived in the area, he was shocked to see the improvement. The street was not only clean, but also had potted plants on the sides and pavements. There were waste bins at every corner and people seemed so fresh and happy with the cleanliness and greenery of their area.

The city mayor was pleased and awarded the girls with medals because these girls did not feel shy at all in cleaning the street by themselves, they took the environment and their surroundings seriously and actually worked for the betterment.

So friends, whatever you do, the first step is always very important, in other words, making an effort is very important. Never be fearful of losing, think of winning. If you never try, you will never know.

Published in Dawn, Young World, January 29th, 2022

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