Eidul Azha – let’s learn to stop the rot

Millions of sacrificial animals are sold across Pakistan every Eidul Azha, but successive governments have failed to develop a proper sanitation system for this religious festival.–File photo

Every year after the observance of the auspicious occasion of Eidul Azha, it is impossible to save one’s sense of sight and smell from the agonizing experience of witnessing huge piles of sacrificial animals’ entrails and waste in every nook and corner. They ooze out extremely obnoxious smell after being left unattended for many days.

Although the Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC) claims to have lived up to its promise of keeping the city clean this time round, there are some complaints of delayed response by the officials. The disposal process is slower compared to the magnitude of the problem which people have incurred upon themselves by showing a lack of community spirit. How can some thousands of people clean up the rotting mess created by millions of negligent ones who exhibit no civic sense while casually throwing offal and intestines of animals outside their homes?

Cleanliness is the most important part of our faith which cannot be ignored. In the observance of one’s religious duty people tend to demean another which also holds high status in Islam. The outcome of neglecting the sacred calling of sanitation may pollute environment and cause outbreak of many infectious diseases (at a time when we are already struggling with the pandemic). Improper disposal of animal waste near airports can lead to bird strikes and prove disastrous for aerial traffic.

People (who are a creature of habit) throw animal remains in the narrow drains and canals which makes it all the more unbearable in the monsoon season. Municipal organisations and town managements do their bit to expurgate the city of the piles of garbage in the proximity of thickly-populated residential areas. Prior to Eid, they provided special bags to people to properly dispose of animal waste but only at a few places but the long-term solutions to the issue can be found only if the government and its relevant departments chalk up a plan which should include vigorous public awareness campaigns before the special event to prevent the accumulation of filth and the subsequent spread of pollution and diseases. The public should be made aware of the hazards of insanitation and there should be strict monitoring mechanism and penalties for the wrongdoers. At the same time the government should ensure the efficiency of workers at the disposal of the company.

The citizens should be educated about their responsibility of keeping their surroundings clean and hygienic instead of just blaming and shaming the government all the time and shirking their own duties. The government officials, on their end, must train workers to efficiently perform their duties and ensure enforcement by throwing the book at the people who fail to fulfill their obligations as responsible citizens. The example of Japan can be emulated where citizens right from the early age of schooling are sensitized about their duties to lead a healthy life by sanitizing their surroundings.

Every year the masses adopt the same reckless attitude towards the proper way in the performance of religious duty. Although everyone wants to keep their houses clean, yet no one bothers to keep their homeland clean. Such acts are vulnerable to the fall-outs. There could be many preventive measures to avoid facing the filthy situation; self-help can work wonders, sweepers can be hired on an individual level, offal should be dumped on the designated points. The town managements should be prepared beforehand and make it compulsory for every buyer of sacrificial animal to take bags along with every animal.

Moreover, why we tend to dispose of and destroy internal organs of sacrificial animals when we can make better use of these by converting these into natural fertilizers and the high protein content can be used in poultry feed.

The writer is a freelancer based in Lahore.

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