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Charity begins at home

With Lorraine Lusinje:

Who are we waiting for to clean up our country? We can do better at managing our environment. What we mostly forget is that a clean environment is healthy and comfortable and, therefore, progressive. For one, a dirty environment dampens people’s moods without them even realising it, before we even get to aesthetics and health.

In other instances, the kind of environment a person tolerates reflects on how organised the person is (in general) about their lives. Anecdotal evidence has it that most people who like to keep things in order are generally disciplined about other aspects in their lives; they stick to plans, they are timekeepers, they don’t easily get carried away and they have an active conscience.

Even in workplaces, a clattered workplace demoralises people as compared to a well-kept one. For many, an unkempt environment makes them restless and, in turn, affects their concentration on important matters at hand. Keeping a clean office is the duty of all people in that office. Having office assistants and cleaners does not entail that people should carelessly mess up the working environment and wait for someone else to clean up after them; that is mediocrity at its worst. It is shallow thinking.

If we want to talk about health, then a clean environment is always number one on the list. Apart from the visual appeal, an environment that is clean is important because the opposite attracts harmful bacteria and cockroaches. Cockroaches are a common sight in any unclean or nasty environment.

There are some kitchens and toilets in our homes that are a haven for cockroaches; they are so cockroach-infested that even the utensils always have a cockroach smell on them unless they get rinsed just before use. In some places you will even find maggots lurking out of nowhere.

What is alarming is that these cockroaches, and most of the creatures that breed in dirty environments, are disease carriers. The harmful bacteria and the cockroaches all lead to some known (and unknown) infections once they come into contact with food or contaminate the human body through other less direct means.

As of public places, I am sure many of us are guilty of littering. If we say we have never littered in our lives, it would be a big lie. Most of us are guilty of littering charges; the credit vouchers, takeaway boxes, household trash, fruit peels, candy wrappers here and there; while our consciences nag us in the background. Let us listen to that conscience and refrain from petty littering completely. Charity begins at home.

But these are not the only concerns here; the issue here is consistent, unchecked and explicit dirtiness and simply messing up the environment. What is most alarming, and what we usually see in our residential areas, is people taking out waste and garbage from inside their compounds to the middle of the road or anywhere else outside their compound. They do not care about the discomfort this causes to other people; neither do they care about the sanitary bruises it inflicts on the environment at large.

We also have those people urinating left, right and centre in town, on any available pole, corner and fence; just because their anatomy allows them to get away with such perversion. The stench from such places is appalling. It is a classic example of a sanitary hazard. Apart from the stench, the act is indecent at most, because half the time people do this without even caring about who is passing; be it children and members of the opposite sex.

We need to be more responsible about our immediate and extensive environments. We all need to be conscious of the type of environment we are nurturing and how it affects our wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around us, consequently the wellbeing of the Malawi nation at large.

If we really want to boost Malawi as an ideal tourist destination, we need to manage the image of the country at large and this means preserving our environment and keeping it clean. I look forward to the day I can enjoy a picnic with friends and family along the banks of Lilongwe River or Mudi River.

I rest my case.

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