The Municipality’s emergency team launched a new campaign last week against hanging clothes in the balconies of apartments. The team commenced its work by issuing warnings in Bneid Al-Gar. If tenants ignore the order, they will be handed fines ranging from KD 100-KD 300. Future campaigns will be carried out in cooperation with the Environment Public Authority, because this issue is related to visual pollution.
I encourage such campaigns. The sight of drying clothing hanging from balconies and windows, especially underwear, is not nice, and it is indeed visual pollution. In addition, the dust that we have in Kuwait nearly throughout the year is not suitable for laundry, and clean clothes are prone to get dirty, especially those in apartments on main streets.
Hanging clothes in balconies is not limited to Bneid Al-Gar, but can be seen in Hawally, for example, and the capital as well. I think it is time to end this ugly phenomenon once and for all. What worries me is the future of this campaign, because I recall a campaign against the use of water hoses to wash cars and replace them with buckets, because so far there is no news about what happened to this campaign and if it achieve its goal or not. I remember it coincided with the National Day celebrations and the wastage of water. I hope this campaign does not end like others.
I should also mention that the issue needs to be thought through not only in terms of aesthetics. Using a clothes dryer takes up electricity and in summer especially Kuwait needs to be careful how it consumes electricity. Drying clothes on the line, either on a balcony or the rooftop, is actually super energy efficient as it uses only the sun. This saves our precious country millions in electricity wastage and also reduces our nation’s energy footprint.
Building owners should be required to provide more energy-efficient and green solutions for residents to encourage greater eco-friendly living and help preserve our environment for now and future generations.
We face the problem of carelessness. For example, on weekends you find rubbish strewn in every direction on the beach. Those who throw or leave garbage have no sense of the need to preserve the environment and no fear from punishment and fines. I also think that the media, especially the official TV channels, are lacking in spreading awareness and working with schools to educate students, especially younger ones, about the importance of hygiene and preservation of the environment. These awareness campaigns should take into account the role of social media tools in their dissemination.
I believe collective action to combat such bad phenomena is important, and I think that the role of the General Authority for Environment is also important in terms of media outreach and follow-up.
By Muna Al-Fuzai