The dustbin that never was

Published: August 16, 2010

Just because you can't find a dustbin nearby doesn't mean you have to litter.

Whenever I drive through the streets of Islamabad, I see wrappers of food items littered around the streets. It seems that no one oversee’s garbage disposal in the city. Are we to blame the sweepers for throwing shopping bags on roads?

One summer evening, while going for a casual stroll, I felt thirsty so I bought juice from the Karyana Store. Alas, within a few strides, all I was left with was a cubical-rectangular empty carton. My first thought was to throw it on that lush-green walking track, but something clicked. I decided to look  for a dustbin to dispose of it, but couldn’t find one. I had no choice but to take the box home with me.

Another day I went out with my friends. Just another plan with friends in Islamabad; we went to Rahat Bakers to eat pizza, since they serve the yummiest pizza I’ve ever had in my life. We couldn’t find any place to sit so we decided to put our pizza boxes on the roof of the car and devoured our meal. At the end, we were left with wrappers of ketchup and sauces along with pizza boxes. Instinctively, I thought about throwing it on the road, but I was reminded that I am supposed to be an ethical citizen of Pakistan, and should dispose all the waste in the dustbin. I tried looking for a dustbin, but couldn’t find one. Finally, I placed all the waste in the backseat of my car and went home to dispose of it.

These are two out of many such experiences I’ve had; eventually I realised that not finding a dustbin is no excuse to litter. If there isn’t a trash can nearby, use your pocket or a purse. The day we realise our duties as citizens of this state, we will progress. Above everything else, we often forget that the religion we belong to (Islam), emphasises most on cleanliness as is said “cleanliness is half of Imaan.”


Rana Usman

A free-lance writer who also enjoys taking photographs. He is an under-graduate student of electronic engineering. He tweets @rana_usman

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • B

    Apparently, Islamabad happens to be one of the cleanest cities in the country. Or probably the only one.Recommend

  • AM

    Rana, your usage of the blog space for something useful is a pleasant surprise. Since for many other bloggers this section is nothing more than a space filler, your 20 odd lines convey a simple and important message.

    I have been living in London for over two years and was very surprised to see a similar situation here. There are not enough trash cans around. Turns out it is a practice to minimize the threat of bombs since it is simply absurd to monitor what is being trashed. Given the current circumstances, I am assuming the lack of trash cans in Pakistan could be because of a similar reason. But just like you said, the important thing is that this does not really give us the right to trash the streets. We have no right to trash our country and then call it dirty. A norm followed by a majority of us.

    I try to do something similar to what you suggested. When in the car, leave the waste and wrappers in the car and when on foot, use a plastic bag to throw all the waste. These can then be disposed off responsibly when one gets home. After all we are just a tad bit careful when it comes to trashing our homes. At least this way there is better chance of the country staying clean.

    Hope a few people choose to follow your message! Thumbs up!!Recommend

  • Hawkish

    This is a useful blog, I personally liked it because it explains the fact that the We don’t realize or think about how guilty each pakistani is of the current garbage situation of pakistan. We blame governments, CBMs but we don’t realize that it’s not them, It’s we, WE THE people of PAKISTAN who are going to make a change and if every single person realizes the duty of being a proud pakistani only then we can be a developed nation.Recommend

  • Muhammad Majeed Yaqoob

    Aslaam o Alikum

    usman let me tell you one thing it maybe funny for you but you know what i always keep one shopping bag in my car and throw all waste things in it while my friends and ppl whoever sit with me, you know what they say to me “you cant keep your car clean see shopperz and other things are there” why dont you throw them out etc. when we compare isb with other cities one can say its clean and neat city rather than others, you should visit other cities
    we cursed our Governments, officers army and everyone who ever come to but ever we tried to think in 63years so many govts came and went but why pakistan is same?
    for me its reply is just coze of us, us, and just us
    how come just few hundred ppl govern on us and we cant mould them to right direction, army cooped but we cant resist.
    we cant keep our cities clean, we cant teach one simple thing to our nation follow the rules.
    disaster came and gone but one thing still remain after such loses i.e ppl of pakistan

    now its time to change oursel and first step should be,whenever somone ask us who are you by lets tell them we are pakistani not punjabi, sidhi balochi or others just one word pakistani
    after that teach next generation about honesty, ethics and pakistanism then maybe we dont need to comment and hightlight such basic thing, other nationas are talking about moon, stars new worlds and see what we have to talk about, basics Recommend

  • Sadia

    Usman, all I want to say is that it’s a beautiful thought. I love reading your blog :)Recommend

  • Peesa

    Good work Usman!
    I wonder when will our government stop playing the blame games about sanitation in Pakistan. No doubt, we should be the beginners.Recommend

  • Noman Khan

    Get a Syed Mustafa Kamal for Islamabad from MQM! Seriously.Recommend

  • Majeed Yaqoob

    hi again
    if Syed Mustafa Kamal can change behaviour/mind/nature of ppl then sure one should call him everywhere and if he cant then i dont think so it will work. Recommend

  • Shazia Inayat

    Writer is a genius.

    Very well written and thought provoking blog.Recommend

  • Hassan

    :) a very reflective article. Hardly see the newer generation talk about civics. Love the paraphrase towards the end. Good work Mr. Usman. Keep it up!Recommend

  • Culprit

    Happens to me all the time!Recommend

  • Mawali

    Rubbish about rubbish!Recommend

  • raheel

    very nice effortRecommend

  • Awais Ali Khan ur batch fellow

    Point to ponderRecommend

  • miss however

    oh my god is the write 12 years old?

    Such a waste of time.Recommend

  • Tehreem Thaeem

    Gud job…..I also think same thing when see wrappers litterd around the streets….
    I have a plan that we give many gifts to our buddez n couzns so if we give them a car dustbin.Also request them to do the same…..!!!!!thatz a better gift it will work for our country n through this we can also encourage other ppl around us…….:-)So…!how many of u will support me if i starts a campain…….?Recommend