On a Sunday morning, when families flock to Burns Road for halwa puri, a group of young men and women, armed with disposable gloves, were seen cleaning the area.
Their message - if we can do it for you, then you can do it too.
The young men and women work with a group called Kumak Pakistan which aims at evoking social responsibility. They believe that in order to persuade the young, one needs to set an example, and this is exactly what their current campaign ‘Let’s clean Karachi’ hopes to achieve. Their first cleaning drive was in Empress Market. Shopkeepers and customers eyed the group with confusion, curiosity, sarcasm and even disdain as they collected garbage from recyclable items to egg shells from the area around Food Centre and Fresco Bakery.
“No one asks anyone why they litter in the first place,” said Kushboo Rafiq, a student of mass communication at the University of Karachi (KU). “But now when we are cleaning, they want to know why.” Sabina Khan, a youth trainer at the School of Leadership said that the area will get dirty again. “A lot of people discouraged us to do so but we felt it was our duty to do so,” she said.
KU student Narjis Fatima said that the effort was worthwhile especially when the shopkeepers started helping out. The programme coordinator Hina Mujeeb said that they chose Burns Road because it was always crowded and there was a possibility that it would inspire others to help clean the city too.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2011.