‘Civic nonsense’

Dr Asangba Tzudir

It is difficult to talk about the beauty of places like Dimapur because mental images of places and localities strewn with garbage obstruct the mind from any talk of beauty. And human beings who are educated and civilized are the agents that litter the city. Any open place or spaces becomes a garbage dumping place, and the drains and roadside are littered by shopkeepers and passerby mostly, and another common sight being garbage flinging out of moving vehicles.

The absence of a heightened civic sense, call it ‘civic nonsense’, can be attributed as the main reason for the dumping of garbage at will, and so it is also a time to reflect on the ‘civic nonsense’, and what actually causes ‘civic nonsense’. Any conscious being that may not be aware of the technicalities of proper garbage dumping can still be expected, as a moral minimum, that it is not right to dump garbage anyplace or litter places.

Yes, there are people with civic sense and which is attested by the not so common sight of certain individuals who, while coming out to dispose their garbage at the collection point also pick up the litters strewn around. It is not just about ‘civic sense’ but such people have the ability to extend the understanding that their household needs to be kept clean as much as their nearby surroundings and the city at large.      

Increasing population and rapid urbanization has led to an increase in waste and its associated problems, and this call for an urgent appeal to the general masses on the need to be sensitive about the emerging environmental issues, and then exercise civic sense instead of being ‘civic nonsense’. The same spirit where an individual knows that they are not supposed to litter their homes should also get extended to their nearby surroundings and the city.

This civic sense is governed by ethics and morality and those who are sensitive towards ethics and morality will have the ability to extend morality beyond the selfish private bracketing. That, in context, ethics and morality cannot and should not operate within brackets especially in contexts that concern the larger good of the community.

To the question of why someone who is educated throws away garbage from their moving vehicle, someone pointed out that it is selfishness, and which is very true. It is the selfish attitude, irrespective of whether someone is educated or not, which takes away the care and concern for the other. One needs to be selfless in order to see the other as an equal, and which also helps one to be sensitive towards issues that concerns life and well-being of everyone. 

Dumping at will has become a condition that has normalized, and it is a callous attitude and a very selfish one, and which needs to change if we are to put an end to this normalized civic nonsense. So long as we carry this ‘who cares’ selfish attitude without having care and concern for the other and the larger good of the society, then our town and city will never look beautiful besides the health and environmental hazards associated with garbage dumping and littering. 

The general populace needs to help in the process of building a robust waste disposal and waste management system by the concerned authorities by being sensitive and extending the ethics of the need to keep one’s house clean to the need to keep our surroundings and the towns clean. 

Before pointing fingers and which is very easily done, each and every individual needs to change from being selfish to being selfless, and create a process of change from being a civic nonsense to one that is sensitive about civic sense.

(Dr Asangba Tzudir writes guest editorials for The Morung Express. Comments can be mailed to asangtz@gmail.com)