Essam al Zadjali, founder member of Move Green, has a simple message to people in Oman: If you love Oman, keep it clean!
Move Green is a group of like-minded adventurers in Oman who believe in not just romancing the great ourdoors but also preserving its beauty. And, so whenever they go out together, they don’t just concentrate on enjoyment but also on their responsibility as citizens. Apart from gathering all the litter they generate during an outing, they also go around every site they visit picking up trash left behind by others.
Essam and two other members of the group – Fahad al Abri and Munther al Jabri – have together composed a catchy song in Arabic with a clear-cut message that exhorts people to join in the efforts in keeping Oman clean. The song – Matloob Lladala ya Tarik el Qumama (which calls on people to ‘Do justice to the bin’) – is sung by the group every time they meet for a clean-up.
People hear the rhythmic beats of drums, accompanied by spirited clapping, as the youth recite this song like a well-rehearsed anthem, following which they fan out, carrying bright green trash bags, collecting everything that compri-ses an eyesore.
“We are using a song to bridge the gap between people and the environment. The message comes forth in a very positive way,” says Essam pointing out that the Arabic culture focuses on love, friendship, hospitality but, somehow, there has been little mention about caring for the environment. “Through this song, we are trying to make people care for the environment and make this task a personal duty. This might be the first such composition in Arabic.”
Calling on people from different nationalities to join in conserving the environment, Essam adds, “to cultivate something new, one needs to learn to honour it – that’s the philosophy behind the call to protect the environment.”
Hopping around with Hopibi
Last week, as I hitch-hiked in a pick-up van that headed towards the Mabelah vegetable market, the ride turned out to be a roller-coaster marked by many a high…and higher. I’m talking about the heights of carelessness, and there was little I could really do about it.
The horror unfolded from within the van itself, though I was on the lookout for those paying scant attention towards the environment all along. Every now and then, when approaching a roundabout or traffic junction, the driver would open his door, tilt his head outwards and spit along the road, much to the displeasure of motorists alongside.
Quite oblivious of the fact that he had been making a spectacle of himself, Mr Spit occasionally offered a sheepish grin each time a fellow motorist wrung his nose in disgust on seeing his uncouth behaviour. I, too, tucked myself deeper between the cartons in the pick-up as I did not want to be seen riding with a guy who does not uphold civic hygiene.
As the minutes rolled by, it was time for his breakfast on the move and Mr Spit soon got transformed into Mr Hungry-all-the-time. For starters, it was a couple of croissants, and the polythene wrappers were sent flying high in the wind like two truant pigeons chasing each other on a warm afternoon. Then followed a sumptuous burger and, as he wiped off the cheese leaking through the corner of his lips with paper tissues, I buried my head in a carton as I couldn’t possibly see it take wing, too. A tall can of cola was next in line and, two roundabouts later, he chose to leave the empty can in the midst of the road when he halted at the next traffic lights, without even batting an eyelid.
Guys, why do people behave so irresponsibly! Are they not concerned about the wellbeing of the city they live in? The van driver was a case in point of a common practice – there are many others who happily chuck burning cigarette butts, wrappers of a variety of snacks, juice boxes and even glass bottles as they drive by. What would happen if the wind chose to have some fun some day and turned these ‘chuck-aways’ into boomerangs.
What do you think I did next? At the next traffic lights, I slid down from the side of the van and looked out for anot-her ride. To my right was a car full of spirited kids – each holding a pack of chips, to the left a couple of burly guys in a muscle car, cigarettes stuck between their lips. And right behind was a blue tanker burping up fountains of warm water. I decided to take a walk…(Oops) hop!
Become a member of the ‘BITTER ABOUT LITTER’ campaign email: firstname.lastname@example.org