“Did we make this mess?”
My classmate, who had attended the IBA Marketing Club’s Grand Launch the night before, sounded surprised. I started, having been caught staring out the classroom window, a not uncommon occurrence in Tabba’s north wing early in the morning. You see, the windows there look down upon the lush green football field - sparkling in dew, if you’re early enough. It’s a gorgeous sight.
It wasn’t today.
A lone man was painstakingly sweeping the ground strewn with trash left behind by hundreds. I wondered if he was one of the groundsmen responsible for the maintenance of the sports fields everyone loves to brag about. Does he resent us for making his job harder? Is it fair that he should be the one cleaning up after us? Surely, he didn’t sign up for this… Regardless, the fact remains that this was the doing of the city’s educated elite.
Yes, the event’s management should have placed more dustbins at the venue to make things convenient, but even so, an absence of trash cans does not warrant littering. Besides, this issue really isn’t about the lack of proper waste disposal options. The debris of countless meals left on the cafeteria tables on the daily contradicts that argument when the three dustbins inside and right outside the café remain unused. We complain about not being allowed to eat in the corridors, conveniently choosing to ignore the trail of crumbs and wrappers we leave behind. “But why not?” we ask, expecting the domestic staff to spend their time cleaning up after us.
The truth is, it all comes down to how entitled we have become as a nation. Why clear the table when the cafeteria staff can wipe it clean for you? It is their job after all. By neglecting to clean up our self-created mess we make the job that much harder.
The entire city of Karachi is a tribute to our group mentality. We expect someone, anyone but us, to deal with our mess. Hell, we hope the Chinese will come and do our dirty work for us. How incredibly passive have we become?
It is saddening to see ‘Karachi’s best ’ and ‘the Leaders of Tomorrow ’ not only littering, but also defending their right to litter the pristine football ground. It’s high time we take responsibility for our actions and question the entitlement that comes with our privilege. After all, what hope is there for a cleaner city if those with the means refuse to do their end of the job?