Gulf News reader Arushi Madan came across litter in Sharjah Image Credit: Arushi Madan

A few days ago, I went to watch a movie at a cinema located on Al Wahda Road in Sharjah. After the movie, I was saddened to see glass and plastic bottles, empty chip packets and all sorts of litter thrown all around the road just outside the cinema. It was such an unpleasant sight and I wondered how can people lack basic civic sense.

When will people realise that it is their responsibility to not only keep their homes clean but also the roads where they walk?

While I was just staring at the litter, I saw a middle-aged man drinking water from a bottle and after finishing it, he simply threw the empty plastic bottle on to the road. Soon after, he threw his empty chips wrapper on the pavement, too.

I was very upset on seeing this and immediately went and picked up what he threw. He looked at me and asked, “Why are you picking it? Do you need these? They are empty.”

I said, “No, I don’t like them thrown around like this, it presents such an ugly look and we should keep the place clean. Also, plastic bottles are recyclable and they should not be discarded. They should be collected and given for recycling to help protect the environment.”

He listened to me patiently and probably realised his mistake. He told me: “I will pick the waste thrown by me. I am sorry, I shouldn’t have been so careless.”

I don’t know if he learnt a lesson for a lifetime and will be careful in disposing his waste throughout in the future, but one thing I am sure of is that next time he will think twice before throwing litter in the open. I just hope that he becomes mindful towards the environment.

It’s really sad that despite so many awareness campaigns by the authorities and media, people don’t learn to respect and protect the environment by keeping all the places clean.

I would like to urge the readers to not throw away trash in this manner. You could carry empty bags with you to collect your litter in and when you return home, sort out the recyclables. Every action impacts the environment.

Please ask yourself — is it necessary, what will be the impact on the environment and is there a better option? If the environment is deteriorating, we all will suffer as well, as this aggravates global warming. If the environment is clean and safe, we will be happy breathing a clean air, walking through clean roads and living a longer and healthier life.

— The reader is a pupil based in Sharjah.

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Littering or dumping waste in an area will result in the municipality inspectors imposing a fine of Dh500, according to a Gulf News report published on March 24.