Ethiopia: A City of Contrast Demanding Responsible Citizenry


Born to Emperor Minilik II and Empress Taytu Bitul at the hillside of Entoto mountain in 1889, Addis Ababa (New Flower, in local language Amharic), has long remained the capital city of Ethiopia.

In due course of trekking life journey since then, the city has been running a number of social, economic, cultural, bilateral and multilateral relations with counterparts and political scenarios keeping the interests of respective regime actors intact. In life, the city has been hosting a multitude of mesmerizing and upsetting circumstances.

It has continued being a seat of a number of embassies, international organizations, unions, council and liaison offices, Commissions and the likes.

As this piece does not suffice to jot down the inside out of Addis Ababa since its inception, it is forced to restrict to simultaneously depict solely the paradoxical faces of the capital: neatness and wastefulness.

Taking this ramble into account, this writer recently approached an environmental expert, Abdissa Tufa, who is a Dilla University graduate in Sanitary and Environmental Science.

Abdissa touched up on a number of issues revolving around the city centering on environmental hygiene and waste disposal carried out in the capital.

"The name given to the city, Addis Ababa, does not bespeak its feature and physical outlook since long back. It is really high time to make the city a standardized, tidy and appealing one," he said.

Unquestionably, the capital can now be regarded as a city of contrast, indeed, as it portrays alluring and sordid scenes. Yes, there are places here and there, though limited in number, which can potentially attract residents and visitors. There are very mesmerizing hotels and resorts that add value to the beauty of the capital.

Interestingly, the newly emerged projects in the city, Unity and Entoto parks for instance, which are brain-children of the patriotic Prime Minister, have provided Addis Ababa with momentous and impressive appearance. These beautification strides are hopefully instrumental in boosting the status of the capital and pushing it to a new level of achievement.

According to Abdissa, what we have drawn from the activities of the prime minister exhibit that, "If one is committed, responsible and patriotic one, constructing or coming up with a meaningful difference is at everyone's doorstep."

Possessing all these catchy and tempting extents combining the ancient heritages and newly emerged beautification centers, Addis Ababa houses grimy, sickening and inconsequential places especially at the sides of boulevards and around hustling and bustling sites.

The dirty materials which are thrown by irresponsible and reckless individuals push the city to enjoy a zero-sum game. In simple terms, the eye-catching scenes found in very restricted places of the capital can be overshadowed and have equal weight to be summed zero.

"Surprisingly, some individuals are unknowingly or calculatingly dump garbage coming out of their home to a nearby place at night and even day time assuming that the mere neatness of their home can bring about tidy environment," Abdissa added.

Responding to the question how can public awareness be raised with a view to developing civility and sense of belongingness among the community to make capital's physical appearance compatible with its senior position and purpose, Abdissa said as promoting environmental hygiene is not a single-handed endeavor, each and every citizenry has to be well told in the way they can understand.

Haphazardly throwing waste and garbage is, be it dry or liquid, highly baffling and severely damaging the social wellbeing of the society apart from deforming the beauty of the city.

Abdissa further elucidated that the society is kind, sympathetic and cooperative enough as witnessed in various aspects. True, everything done among the society could never be out of their sight. If this is so, leveling the playground for the society to discuss the issue at their respective Idirs, Equbs and other social gatherings can be a matchless way out. Hence, the municipality in particular and the government in general have to move in unison to create a city of which every citizen confidently proud.

He said, "The wrong perception of some segments of the urbanites can be corrected and get them well aware of the negative repercussions of recklessly dumping rubbish in three potential ways. First and for most, the aforesaid social assemblages have to formulate a rule and regulation by which everyone in their residence seriously abide followed by some sort of fine even to the extent that culprits would be thrown to jail as thoughtlessly throwing nasty and stinking rubbish is tantamount to genocide. As the saying goes, "Million miles start from a span," the cumulative effect of the neatness of each household spillovers to the entire city and the nation at large.

Second, the government especially the municipality of the capital has to organize a task force in charge of supervising the environmental and community hygiene undertaken at each and every sub-city. Besides, the issue of keeping the capital tidy and suitable to live and work should be well mainstreamed and meticulously supervised. In so doing, there will be a competition in keeping areas clean. In aggregate, the entire part of the city is going to be catchy, inviting and pleasing.

Third, the private sector has to be well engaged in beautifying the city following the footsteps of the responsible Prime Minister who has been arduously working from dawn to dusk to make a real difference, he elaborated.

In sum, the piled up rubbish on the garbage can is expected to be removed timely. However, if the suggested mechanisms are in a position to be well put in place, the dirty materials cannot come out of the limit. All in all, the effort of making the city clean and welcoming and nurturing the proper and timely disposal of filthy and garbage as a culture requires the combined effort of all.

Let's make Addis Ababa a metropolitan city with a majestic look and attention grabbing outfit.

More From: Ethiopian Herald

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