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Proud to be Sri Lankan? Well, don’t be. At least not when you see the way people in our country litter the environment. I have often thought whenever I see a person throw an empty bottle of water to the road or when someone throws a bus ticket the moment they get down from the bus, whether they are doing it on purpose or if it is the way they have been all this time. In most of the cases it is the way they have been brought up, I think. 2

One does not have the right to complain about the city being so dirty if they do not even attempt to do their part to keep the environment clean. The situation is worse in public transportation.

Recently, traveling in public transportation I witnessed a person, very old who could barely walk, eating something out of a paper bag and he had a water bottle too. After finishing whatever he had been eating, he drank water from the bottle and threw the empty bottle and paper bag to the railway track. Yes, just like that. Utterly disgusted with his action, it made me think that well, if the elders behave like that how can you expect the younger generation to act responsibly.

It is quite difficult not to be sarcastic of one’s own nation when someone witnesses such disappointing actions of the people. Despite all the sign boards, ‘PLEASE DO NOT LITTER’ they throw garbage to streets or to the ground when a dustbin is just two or three steps away from them. Sometimes you tend to think may be people cannot read/understand the sign boards. But Sri Lanka has a very high literacy rate, right? So there is no way that citizens cannot read a signboard. Even if one cannot read, he/she should be able to understand a sign which is a very simple way of putting a message into a one single sign.

People tend to think that someone else, in most cases people who are maintaining a certain area will pick up or clean what they dispose or that there is already litter accumulated in that place so no difference is made when you throw garbage into the same place. Another issue is that the citizens do not feel any sense of ownership though almost all the areas they litter are public property. Would you throw trash to your own property? Would you throw trash in your own garden? The answer would be No! Because it belongs to you. But people do not really mind when they litter someone else’s garden or a public place. If you are someone who are used to dispose trash like that well, that means you are a selfish, careless and an irresponsible citizen. And you are not entitled to complain of the appearance of the city.

It is quite right when Sri Lanka is named a land like no other because people are that much selfish in this country. We, of course known it’s for hospitality, but people lack basic discipline. There is no point wearing a t-shirt which says, ‘I Love Sri Lanka’ if you don’t actually practice what it means.

Love your country by not littering; love the country by being responsible towards its environment.