If you have lived abroad, and later visited Lebanon, you probably noticed the difference in the cleanliness on the streets and the civil responsibility that the citizens bear about keeping public properties clean.
In Lebanon, the law is absent definitely the right mentality. Lebanese, young and adult, unfortunately have not been trained not to litter. What is worse is that they have even lost all ethics when it comes to this matter that they comfort themselves and back up their right throw trash on the streets and in public spaces simply because there are people hired to remove their own trash, a.k.a. Sukleen. What these people are probably not aware of, as is the case with rest of the country due to secrecy in public spending, is that the company hired to do the public cleaning gets paid by the weight of the trash it collects and costs the public sector an estimated but not officially revealed fortune of about $100,000,000. Yes !!!! I put the 8 zeros there on purpose. It costs the country about $100 million dollars per year to remove trash from public spaces…….Click on this link for more info and numbers.
Could we save that amount of money and spend it on education if we trained Lebanese not to throw trash on the streets? Why don’t we do that?
Simply because Lebanon is a mafia and the Sukkar company, known as Sukleen, is owned by close friends of a prominent political family in powery and the trash of Lebanese is a fortune to them. Why cut the trash if you can build an empire out of it?
Who takes the initiative in a situation like this? As usual, young and creative Lebanese fight on their own and try to make a difference in country where people have become numb to corruption and absence of transparency.
Nadine Razzouk, Lama Chehadeh and Mohamed Olaymi, three graphic design students, took the initiative and started a campaign called ” Metel Ma shilta” translated into “Just like you picked it up”. In their campaign, which I will allow the attached short videos to explain further, the two students use fake 10,000 L.L. bills that they threw randomly on the streets and used human’s thrive for free money to send a message hidden inside the paper bill saying : Just like you picked this up, you can pick up the trash on the streets!!!!! A very strong message that makes people feel scammed for picking it up in the first place, but plays on their conscience and makes them feel guilty that they would indeed make effort to pick up money but not a piece of trash. Nothing better than guilt to provoke action……
Why wouldn’t a public/governmental institution come up with this initiative is obvious: you cannot cure a disease if you simply have not diagnosed it yet. They officials running such institution are numb and have their radars surveying more pressing issues aimed at augmenting their bank accounts.
Kudos to the Nadine and Lama for their creative approach and taking initiative. Please spread the word about this campaign to raise awareness.
You can follow “Metel ma Shilta” on Facebook by liking their page ( https://www.facebook.com/metelmashelta).