Are you giving your city its bad reputation?

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One day as my eight year brother and I took a stroll, we decided to spoil our sweet tooth by having some candy. Typical of most kids, my brother excitedly and hurriedly unwrapped his sweet, dropped the wrapper and popped the sugar filled piece in his salivating mouth. Even before that heavenly yummy presence embraced his tongue, I quickly interrupted his happy moment by sternly telling him to pick up that wrapper, put it in his pocket and rightfully dispose it in the next trash can we come across.

“Kwani huku ni Rwanda?” was his speedy remark! Perhaps he was enraged that I had interrupted his flavorful moment but really, where did that come from?

So I engaged him a little bit to prod deeper into this young man’s perspective. Turns out that he believes Rwanda is the cleanest country on earth. Well that is somehow true, but then why doesn’t he or rather don’t we all consider our country Kenya to be so? Each of us is to blame for making our country dirty.

Remember that plastic bag you recently threw out of your car window while on a road trip? Yes, this has become a common and annoying habit around the country and it is a threat to our eco-system, Tourism and Investment.

How about carrying a bunch of trash bags while on safari and ensuring everyone understands the importance of using it. Strategically place it in the car, while on picnic or delegate trash watch duty as a fun thing on tour. All travel Bus companies and safari vans must also have this in place.

Nature is very kind but it can equally be ruthless. For instance, dealing with the upcoming El Niño rains and recovering from it will be more difficult if our drainage systems are clogged with the plastic bags we throw around, and we shall all suffer the most for our own insensitive habits.

We need to realize that the small acts turn into habits which are hard to break, and these habits in turn become the norm to our children. Perhaps that is how each Rwandan citizen has contributed in a small way towards the national habit of keeping the country unpolluted.

So the next time you travel somewhere and squint at the eyesore of a polluted and stinking environment, remember you are a contributor. Change that bad attitude that the city council or someone else will clean up after you anyway. Challenge yourself to keep the environment clean even before the Government intervenes. The kids will learn from this and carry on with the good habits, others will also see the value and impact of taking up this responsibility and stir up a chain of even more positive behavior. Then our country will surely be a clean spectacle to behold.

Remember, this is our country, even before laws are enforced to guide our actions, we should be sharp enough to realize and uphold the laws of nature; the environment will be good to us if we are good to it.

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