Out of the 195 countries in the world, only three are known to not have countered the poliovirus yet, and Pakistan is one of them. While it may sound mindboggling to find the world’s 23rd largest economy on this list, perhaps the ever-buzzing flies hovering over heaps and piles of garbage, food waste and human feces along the main roads, alleys and ravines of Pakistan’s largest metropolis, Karachi, may be potent enough to justify Pakistan’s inability to counter a virus that has been extinct around the rest of the world for decades. Thus, flies, garbage and polio cases have turned to be one of the big challenges for Pakistan.
Most of the Pakistani citizens lay blame for the poor sanitation and unhygienic surrounding on their governments for they haven’t been able to deliver the framework and infrastructure needed to maintain clean neighbourhoods in almost all of the cities. As a result, common citizens have had to fight malaria, dengue fever, and polio among other hazards arising from the malodor debris surrounded streets and roads.
While the situation may seem like an endless tunnel for most Pakistanis as of now, there certainly is a ray of light at the end of this filthy tunnel. If the Japanese can rise from the ashes of the nuclear tragedy at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, then this should be a walk in the park for Pakistan. After all, it’s their very own filth that’s the problem. And nobody is to be blamed for this mess of flies, garbage and polio cases that we find ourselves in than ourselves.
As a nation, we have failed to take responsibility for (let alone other matters for now) even the filth that we produce every day. A major portion of the populace lacks the civic sense regarding using dustbins and dumping their waste in allocated places, causing massive undeclared junkyard along the country’s pavements. For a country that has 95 to 98 percent of its citizens declared as Muslims fail to realize that fact that half of their faith lies in maintaining cleanliness.
Neither has this dump been created by a single person nor in a single day. And thus, it would require for us to work as a community for a week and even months to eradicate our society of this menace. A major share of this responsibility lies on the young shoulders of Pakistan’s youth that makes up 64 percent of the total population. Any nation or community is driven by its youth, and with such a big youth population, it is imperative to channel their juvenescence to society’s use.
To channel the population and making them work as a team is the key to solving any problem, including the problems like flies, garbage and polio cases. This is where the government can step in. Rwanda, a country marred by civil war for decades now boasts of its capital as the cleanest city in Africa; and the primary reason for this is motivating youth, community building and the conscience and will be needed to clean up after themselves. Rwandan President Paul Kagame is someone Pakistani leaders and the populace should look up to if they are to rid themselves of the filth that surrounds them and the diseases they ensue. President Paul introduced Rwanda to “Umuganda,” a community cleanup drive that takes place on the last Saturday of every month. And every one of the country’s citizens is bound to participate. Such an initiative is the need of the hour for Pakistan, too.
Involving school and university goers in such a drive should be number one on the to-do list for the Pakistani government. Such initiatives not only inculcate social and civic sense but also make our future generations responsible for their actions. We, as a nation, have struggled to keep up with the rest of the world largely due to the fact that many in Pakistan don’t take responsibility and own up this country as our own. Our youth needs to take the lead even if not provided with a government program. It is our country and it is our responsibility to save it.
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