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‘Nothing changed’

May 31,2017 - Last updated at May 31,2017

I am an avid anti-litter campaigner and over the years I have written several letters to The Jordan Times expressing my dismay about the defilement of the country with litter.

Thirty-four years ago I wrote the following letter; unfortunately nothing much has changed since then except the usage of plastic has increased, as has the desecration:

“Look at that hillside over there. Is it brightly decorated like that for some kind of celebration?”

Turning around to look where my aunt was pointing I realised, to my embarrassment, that what she mistook for joyful decorations were, in fact, plastic bags.

For the rest of her visit, I was acutely aware of the litter covering our beautiful country. No place was free from it, from Pella in the Jordan Valley to Wadi Rum in the south.

The frightening thing about litter is particularly the plastic.

Paper litter will gradually decompose and be absorbed in the ground whereas plastic is not biodegradable. Each and every plastic container and bag that covers our country will only disappear after someone has picked it up.

Litter is especially disgraceful on our capital’s empty lots. Here we have areas of beautiful homes and buildings next to lots so littered that one wonders if it is the local dumping place.

In one empty lot between the 5th and 6th circles, I counted more than 200 plastic bags, not to mention the other refuse.

At the rate that the litter has been increasing the past four to five years, it will not be long before the whole of Jordan turns into a gigantic garbage dump.

The question we must ask ourselves is: What, if anything, are we going to do about this situation?

Here are some suggestions: with government support, organise a “Clean up Jordan” campaign. This could be run for a specific length of time, perhaps a month and would involve TV, radio and press support; let there be a “National clean-up day” during this campaign and encourage all Jordanian citizens to participate; have all the schools teach the destructiveness of litter and encourage a “Clean up the school day”; ban the mass usage of plastic bags in commercial shops and groceries and encourage people to shop with their own carrier bags; have more frequent garbage pick-ups; impose stiff “litter fines” on both people and commercial establishments; let offenders “pay off” fines or punishment by spending a number of hours picking up litter on some streets; increase the number of litter containers in parks and on highways.

Naturally, I would hope that a campaign like this would make people aware that we must always make an effort not to litter.

We have a beautiful country, which we are all responsible to keep that way. 

Let us hope that in the near future when a visitor arrives, we will be able to show him/her this ancient, litter-free land with pride.”

Karen Asfour,

578 users have voted.


Second only to very rude smokers, who think they have a right to pollute the air I breathe, this is the most disgusting thing about this country, & it's a great shame. It could be a very beautiful place, but ignorance, laziness & lack of pride in your land makes it far less than it will ever be, unless there is great change with personal desire to make that change happen. It has to begin with children in school being educated, along with parents teaching them by example, which would have the potential to change much more than just littered land, but improved attitudes & behavior that would affect other areas of life. Why would God bless you with anything more if you don't even take care of what you have? THINK & GET SMART to change your life!

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