When spring arrives, so do the Kurdish version of picnics, which are akin to a “nightmare” for me. Our gleeful neglect and disregard for the environment is an embarrassment — while others look at our countryside they see a nation that fights for independence but disrespects the soil it seeks to represent. What good is our nationalistic sentiment when so many are keen on destroying it.
Every spring spent in Kurdistan, which are not many to date — picnics have been a top family event. It is not just the food that is high in fat, and low on valuable nutrition but the general attitude towards picnics.
It came as no surprise when Chris Kutschera (a french writer and established author) posted a Facebook picture of the road towards Barzan, paved with plastic and rubbish. Many comments were made on the picture, some even apologising (which made no sense, unless they’re apologising because they too are guilty of trashing the countryside).
The Kurdish public, as careless as many might be regarding keeping the countryside clean and environmental friendly can be criticised for this (and rightfully so). However, it is also the responsibility of the Kurdistan Regional Government to put into place laws that protect the environment and seek ways to implement it.
In theory, fining those who throw trash and leave garbage behind during picnics seems ideal. In reality however, it is nearly impossible. The best solution is to keep the public aware and employ cleaning companies to keep the countryside clean.
Until we generate a culture that is embarrassed and finds it morally wrong to litter, there must be measures put in place by the government to preserve our countryside.