Support the War Effort By Keeping Kurdistan Clean
This spring, Kurdistan’s civilian population has an opportunity to respect the Peshmerga’s work of protecting Kurdistan’s land by keeping the hills, mountains, and countryside clean.
“We as Peshmerga are ready to sacrifice our lives to protect every inch of this land,” Sayid Shukur, commander of the 4th Zeravani force, told Rudaw in early February. Yet while the Peshmerga give every measure of devotion to protect their land, picnickers often leave the ground filled with aluminum cans, glass bottles, and other pieces of trash, rather than taking a few minutes to honor those protecting it by picking up.
Each day, the hearts of the people of Kurdistan beat in solidarity with the Peshmerga who defend Kurdish ground, yet the pervasive practice of littering, in a small way, does the opposite of what the Peshmerga seek to do each day on the battlefield—protect Kurdistan for a future generation.
“If the Peshmerga are giving their lives to protect our land, we ought to protect the countryside for future generations,” Shivan Ahmed of the Dohuk province said. “Everyone can do their part during the important picnicking month of March.”
Not only does picking up after oneself honor those who defend the land from terrorists, but it also can contribute to the overall health, economy, and image of the region.
“Litter is a threat to public health,” said the advocacy website JB Green Team. “Litter attracts vermin and is a breeding ground for bacteria. Items such as broken glass … can be a health hazard in public places.”
Furthermore, many nations spend billions to collect litter. While there are no public figures for how much money is spent to clean up litter in the Kurdistan Region, if everyone cleaned up their own garbage, no doubt a significant amount of funds could be redirected towards the ministry of Peshmerga, education, infrastructure, or healthcare. Additionally, litter contributes to a negative international image of a nation, which can drastically decrease opportunities for tourism and development.
This spring, everyone has the opportunity to combine a love for picnicking and support for the region and those defending it—by picking up after oneself and defending the beautiful land from a culture of littering.