Umm Adel’s apartment is located on Baker Street, close to the famous Oxford Street, in the heart of London.
Umm Adel is used to spending summer with her small family in London, often accompanied by their Filipino domestic helper.
Almost every day, Umm Adel walks from her apartment for a few kilometers before she goes to the Selfridges store shopping to buy food for the day. She told me one day by mistake she bought a piece of ham thinking it was beef. She added, when she prepared broth, the taste was delicious and when her husband discovered her mistake, she spent the whole day brushing teeth.
Umm Adel just realized that she has to take her shopping bag made of cloth to avoid paying extra for the plastic bag in the supermarket. Sometimes she takes a small trolley with her if she wants to buy too much or heavy stuffs.
She says she often takes the garbage bags to a collection center and puts each bag in a specific container. There are containers for glass, food waste or plastic, but as soon as she returns to Kuwait, to Raju and her four servants she changes to another personality. As she put it, she walks on four legs which literally means she depends on her ‘four’ domestic workers for everything.
She also makes it a point that Raju and a domestic helper accompanies her on her trips to the coop or anywhere and does not bother to carry shopping bags with her either made of cloth or any other kind perhaps because the plastic bags are free and she does not want to behave indifferent, rather walk with the community so as not to be called ‘a pedant’.
She says she transforms into someone else in Kuwait, meaning lazy. So does not want to walk to the upper floors but prefers to use elevator.
She asks herself: What brings a change into her the moment she arrives in her home country from a trip to London which was a few days ago — changing her from an environment friendly person, active, doing her things by herself without feeling embarrassed.
The answer lies in the culture of a society that has been nurtured by the army of teachers from the Association of Teachers, which has been for decades under the domination of the Muslim Brotherhood whose curricula is indifferent to the environment, the individual’s psychological and physical health, but instead focuses on superficialities.
We are under obligation to protect our environment, our bodies and our mental health, and our society, and all these are not often included in our school curricula and awareness programs. We don’t know when the Environment Public Authority or the Environment Society will act and put an end to all this waste and the use of shopping bags?
Why do cooperative societies not charge 50 fils, for example for a plastic shopping bag and use this money to improve the environment of the area itself?
Any delay in the implementation of such proposals will make the slogans of the Environment Public Authority to give Kuwait a ‘plastic-free environment by 2020’ a silly joke.
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf