The Mauritian Government recently undertook a countrywide effort to clean up Mauritius. A good intentioned campaign, that unfortunately falls dramatically short of what is needed. Far from the recent political colloquialism, “enough is enough,” in this case the Governments campaign is just simply NOT enough, hence: “enough is NOT enough.”
We, Mauritius, as a whole, need to step-up our game. And together, we can do it.
Case in point: almost two weeks ago now, on Sunday July 7th 2019, Nouveau Front Politik (NFP -i) kicked-off the first day of our co-sponsored “Clean-Up” campaign in Roche Bois, Port-Louis, Mauritius, in collaboration with “Groupe Mouvement Social Roche Bois – ii (GMSRB).”
This “Clean-Up” campaign aims at not only partnering with local residents to clean up the Roche Bois district and other sub-districts in the near vicinity—but also aims to educate residents as to the need to maintain a clean environment and neighbourhood. Pertinently, slogans such as “Nou Kartie, Nou Lavenir” have been used and promoted throughout the campaign.
But it is not easy. Several times we have found ourselves cleaning up particular spots again and again, areas we had already “cleaned-up” the week before. Yet we find ourselves at it, again, in the same spots: as if all the effort we had put in was all for nothing. At times this can get to be very disheartening, to say the least.
Unfortunately, Roche Bois sometimes gets a bad name and many of the reasons for this bad reputation are out of her residents’ direct control (iii). However, when it comes to the cleanliness of the area, people tend to assume that this has to do specifically with the residents and their inability to maintain an environmentally friendly and clean neighborhood: that it is the people they themselves who are to blame and are completely at fault.
This could not be farther from the truth.
The fact is, Roche Bois is in desperate need of some serious TLC (iv). The same goes for its residents (however that is a topic for another paper). On the environmental and health/hygiene side, what we have found is that one of the simplest of things (in regard to keeping an area clean) is lacking in Roche Bois. I am speaking about trash cans, garbage bins, rubbish bins, or as we say in Mauritius “bann poubel.”
And when I say lacking, I mean seriously lacking, as in absolutely NONE to be seen. This lack of trash cans invites litter, trash, and, worse, an environmental and hygiene problem. In fact, their scarcity/non-existence in Roche Bois, Port Louis, is at least 75% of the area’s trash and rubbish problem.
Not the people.
There is an old adage that says, “You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot force it to drink.” In reality, when you lead a horse anywhere, if you wish it to drink: there must at least be water wherever you lead it! Otherwise, the drinking, regardless of the leading, is just simply not an option.
This is the same story for Roche Bois. We can clean and educate all year long, but if the neighborhood is not provided with ample trash can and rubbish bins, as well as the facilities to dispose of other, larger, garbage (think household appliances)– then people will have almost no choice but to litter. No choice but to dump.
And this must change. Not only must we change our ways—but also we must change our way of doing things. All across our island, and not just in Roche Bois. Our “Clean Up” campaign must be continuous, unrelenting, and far-reaching. There is so much work to be done.
On behalf of GMSRB, and NFP, I would like to thank the Municipality of Port-Louis for their logistical support during our “Clean Up” campaign. I would also like to invite the Government, and in particular the Ministry of the Environment, to get with the program and not only help to transform, but also maintain, Roche Bois and her surrounding neighborhoods’ cleanliness (and other neighborhoods all over Mauritius).
It is time for citizens across Mauritius to unite, and to work hand-in-hand with Government in this endeavor. As our Roche Bois cleanup campaign has clearly proven: the people are up for the task. So much so, that we are extremely happy and proud to announce that we are extending our campaign by an extra week.
Because after all, as they say “Cleanliness is next to Godliness,” and what better place for Godliness (and therefore by default cleanliness) than a place they call Paradise (AKA Moris).
iii) This is nothing new, and to a certain extent arises from the stereotypical criticisms that come with being a low-income neighborhood reminiscent of a “ghetto” (or “Cité” as we say in Mauritius).
iv) Tender loving care