Africa: There is no room in the space ship to Mars

7 Min Read

If you are a lover of movies, maybe you have watched those that deal with the world ending- not in the Biblical sense. The script is always kind of the same. Planet Earth is about to be destroyed because of something that’s beyond anybody’s control. Time is running out and we need to save what we need for the future of humanity.

The only hope we have for our salvation is in the hands of America who have the resources and capability to rescue humanity which is at the brink of extinction. Then comes the climax to the movie the fact that Africa is not saved.

You can literally count the number of black people in such a movie considering the fact that Africa’s population is almost that of India. Rest assured that they will not save the Africans. They will only take our wild animals, artifacts, prized possessions, minerals, famous recipes, music, and curio designs and say they did the best they can.

We have only one Earth and though tsunamis, earthquakes, fires and floods are beyond anyone’s control, environmental degradation is within our control. We need to make this place clean not for anyone else but for ourselves. You and me!

Yes!! It is the Government’s job to keep our cities and environs clean. That is what we do pay them for and we do expect our taxes to be used for our benefit. But that does not make it our job to dirtify the streets! We all should play a part in keeping our streets clean.

I feel so sicken when I drive past the local market and I see a heap of garbage and the staunch smell just hits you instantly, welcoming you to the market where we receive our “fresh” produce with humungous rats dashing around. I feel so disgusted when I see men running to a corner looking for a place to urinate, not willing to spare a few coins to do that which should be done in private.

I feel so annoyed when I see a “NO DUMPING” sign that has been totally disregarded and the field that was meant to be a playing ground for children has now turned into a dumping site. I feel so confused when someone sees a dustbin but throws away the wrapper or the banana peel just next to the dustbin which is a stone throw away and not even full. I feel so angry when someone throws their spit inconsiderate of other pedestrians walking besides him or even worse, from a moving vehicle.

The streets are dirty and it is not because the Government is not doing its job. But it is because we ourselves don’t care enough about our environment and the need and benefit of it being clean. I have seen the City Council officers sweeping the dusty roads and picking up the trash and that is itself not an easy job (considering the working conditions, inadequate pay and hostile and ungrateful citizens)

Yes the Government has a duty to keep our environment clean and we also have a right to a clean environment. But the Government has no hands and feet of its own. It is made up of humans like you and me and the Government cannot enforce nor implement policies all by itself without the support and co-operation from the fellow citizens.

We need to work together with our Government in order for us to prosper. The Government is trying its best and we also need to do our best.

We need a reality check and a mental re-evaluation. Our society needs to change. We need to adapt to new behaviors and attitudes and stop saying “This is Africa” as an excuse for all our wrongs or characters. We need to go back to the basics and teach our children to care for the environment.

I don’t know about you but I would like to smell clean air without chocking on the smoke or covering my nose because of the foul smell from the vehicles, burnt rubber and garbage. I would like to walk the streets and not seeing a banana peel, a paper bag or a plastic bottle will be part of the norm.

I would like to see African cities in the books for all the good reasons. I would like to hear that Nairobi is competing with Kigali for the top 5 clean cities in Africa. Heck even maybe one day top 25 clean cities in the whole world. If not why not! I chose to hope. I chose to be part of the generation that hopes and dares to be change agents.

Failing to share our concern for a clean and healthy environment is a failure to the duty we owe to protect Mother Earth and I myself am guilty of betraying the environment.

So today as you step out to the streets, be the example that someone else can learn from. Be bold enough to share what you believe because we only got one Earth and the space ship to Mars will not be enough to fit the entire of Africa if ever the Earth was in danger because of our lack of respect for the environment.

As Henry David Thoreau said in Familiar Letters

What’s the use of a fine house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?”

By Elavisa Maureen

Elavisa Maureen is a young lawyer based in Nairobi,Kenya who has a soft spot for yoga, who prefers a well-cooked home meal and is interested in contemporary world issues.

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