From Seattle to Dhaka: How to Create a Culture of Cleanliness

Sweeping the city
Sweeping the city

Louise Stonington’sfather-in-law, used to pick up trash when he went for his morning walks or on his way to church. It was the 1970s in Seattle and litter was a common sight on the roads and sidewalks.
Across the world, and forty years later, a University student keeps her own trash in her school bag instead of throwing it the street–a common occurrence in current day Dhaka, Bangladesh.
This summer, that girl came to the United States for the first time. She is me! I arrived in Seattle five weeks ago to attend a scholarship program at the University of Washington. The traffic system, food banks, people’s behavior, classroom environment—everything was new and seemed so perfect to me. But most interesting all was the way people managed their trash.
Here households have three different waste receptacles–one for trash, another for recycle and a third for compost. Beside every busy road there’s a garbage can every few hundred

 

 

Work of every morning
Work of every morning

feet. People carry their trash with them until they find a garbage can.
As I watched people’s behavior, I thought of Bangladesh. With few trash cans available, people throw trash everywhere. Roads are dirty. Every morning city employees sweep the road and collect trash. That trash is then dumped beside the Burigonga River. Not only does this system encourage people to continue to throw garbage wherever they stand but that plastic and trash also pollutes the river and soil.
As a part of my study tour I stayed with an American family for a weekend. I was passionate seeing the way they manage their waste and recycling staff in different trash cans and making compost from the waste materials. They use the compost they made for fertilizing their home garden.
My host mom shared a story about Lady Bird Taylor, wife of former US president Lyndon B Johnson. When Lady Bird nominated as the first lady, she wanted to make United States beautiful, so she came out with a waste management campaign in 1965. She tried to advocate people, how important waste management is! People support her and took part to make their country beautiful.

 

 

Road of Bangladesh, no trash can seen.
Road of Bangladesh, no trash can seen.
Road of Seattle, no trash cans seen.
Road of Seattle, no trash cans seen.

 I used thought about my country , who is our  lady Bird!  JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) in Bangladesh is investing a huge sum of money in Bangladesh for Waste Management, they can be ! People also pay for managing trash $2 per month, govment has budget for that, but why the situation is not changing! So it’s the time to make that money not a waste and a profitable investment by making a clean “Bangladesh”.

Md. Rubel said “We see everyone throwing trash on the road from our childhood, so we also used to do that” On the other hand one of the student of University of Washington said “throwing trash in a particular place is not a big deal, it keeps ourselves healthy.

Everyone has secret wish in their soul to keep their city beautiful. But less actions makes it only a dream. So I’m planning to do a campaign by involving the youth of Bangladesh. We have about 120 university campuses and 62 universities in Dhaka where thousands of students studying. We supposed to have a social media campaign and to do some crowd funded awareness videos to advocate the Bangladeshis on waste management.

Trash Cans of Seattle
Trash Cans of Seattle

I’m will try to help our youth to hear their heart. Everyone have the courage, Sometimes mismanagement, lack of resources or the culture makes the barrier of a beautiful city.

We are the owners of our cities. So it’s the time to get unite to make our city beautiful.

2 Comments

  1. You are right, it starts with the children! We have programs at our schools that educate about recycling so kids are invested and encouraged from a young age. I think you can make a difference in your city!

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