Treat it like your own

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 14 January 2017, 12:00AM

On the newspaper you are reading today is a very sad story. 

On page 3, the story is titled “This isn’t a rubbish dump.”

It features poor old Peni Chan Sau of Falelauniu who woke up yesterday to find the stench emanating from the carcass of a dead pig that had been dumped there impossible to ignore.

Of course this problem is not new, especially in this particular area. 

Yesterday was a pig, possibly from a fa’alavelave. Other times have been boxes of papers, entire trash bags of rubbish and more. The actions of these mindless individuals speak of a total lack of care about the welfare of others.

But it’s not just a problem at Falelauniu. This attitude is very common all across the country.

As it stands, far too many people simply don’t care. So they treat someone else’s front yard with such contempt that they don’t really care what happens to them. They know at the back of their minds someone else will always clean up. Which is a sad way to live, isn’t it? 

It’s selfish, destructive and downright cruel. We say selfish because they don’t think about others. 

All they ever think about is their convenience and what they feel like doing on the spur of the moment. So they dump rubbish wherever, whenever.

It’s destructive in the sense that we are destroying our beautiful environment. By continuously trashing the place, we are contributing to a deteriorating surrounding that our young children will grow up to inherit. 

And because they see our bad habits, they too will pick up on them. 

Ladies and gentlemen, what we sow is what we will reap. Which means that if we continue to litter anywhere possible, including town and all public places, all we’re going to get is a rundown township that no one would like to visit.

Sadly, Apia is quickly becoming that kind of town once the poor cleaners and rubbish collectors move away from a place. It’s disgusting.

You see; the government is spending millions of tala to promote Samoa to the outside world. This is done through images being beamed out there of Samoa’s pristine surrounding, tranquil beaches and our wonderful people.

The idea is to entice visitors to these shores so that they’ll come and spend their money here, which in return helps develop our economy.

It’s a win-win situation. 

But the mindless littering in public places is putting those efforts to shame.

At some stage, you’ve probably seen how some people recklessly toss bags of rubbish from moving vehicles as if it’s no big deal. 

Even more disgusting is the detestable habit of spitting anywhere and everywhere whenever they feel like it. 

The word ‘faigaelo,’ a Samoan term used to describe someone who is disgustingly untidy, comes to mind.

The question is, will you spit in the middle of your living room? 

Will you dump a bag full of trash in the middle of your faleo’o or fale Samoa? 

You wouldn’t walk in the middle of the a’ai in your village and scatter your rubbish, would you? 

You wouldn’t dump the carcass of a dead animal  in front of your mother’s house?

So why do it in front of someone else’s home? 

Why do we find it so easy to litter in public places? 

It’s because we think that someone else will always pick up after us. We know it’s not ours and it is therefore not our responsibility. Such a mentality is sad. 

Now, in some countries, they have very strict laws to deal with such attitudes. In some places, people are thrown in jail.

Maybe it’s time the government considers the introduction of similar laws here. 

The sad thing is that they are really unnecessary. You see those kinds of laws are only necessary when people don’t use their God-given ability to think right and do the right thing.  It’s a real pity if you need a law to tell you to do something you should be doing in the first place anyway.

What we want to stress is that our people need to take ownership of these places. They are public places. In other words, they belong to you and me. 

The solution is very simple. We all need to take ownership of all these public places. In simple terms, treat it like your own.

Have a wonderful weekend Samoa, God bless!

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 14 January 2017, 12:00AM

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