WhispersSmoke, smoke everywhere [Archives:2005/873/Culture]

September 1 2005

By Fahmia Al-Fotih
I was in the bus looking through the window and pondering my next topic when suddenly I was annoyed by the smell of smoke! There were a group of guys smoking and the clouds of smoke were rising like a chimney stack. For a moment I felt I could not breath and I felt that there was no oxygen any more! With struggle I tried to open the old window of the bus to take a breath of fresh air! I moved my head through the window looking for the fresh air but I was shocked and greatly disappointed when I found more clouds of smoke that exhausted from the bus and many other vehicles on the street! Oh no! smoke inside the bus and smoke outside of the bus! What could I do? I really could not breath any more and I wanted to cry and asked for oxygen and just a fresh air but I knew that they would not help me in this case. On contrary, they would laugh at me and brand me as a crazy girl! I imagined it was my end and I remember a poem that I read in university days entitled “Water, water everywhere” and I found myself repeating “Smoke, smoke everywhere and I am going to die!” I am not exaggerating but that what I actually felt it then.

I was lucky as the bus started going outside the capital heading outskirts where my residence when I felt some refreshment and the atmosphere was more clearer and just then I took a deep breathe and I wished if I could take some of this fresh air wherever I go especially when I go to the capital.

We live in Sana'a the capital which is a mountainous and highland area where the oxygen becomes less and less! However, we remarkably see that people from the different governorates tend to come, work and live in Sana'a! Sana'a is now more crowded and more populated than any time. The more horrific thing is the increasing number of cars and vehicles whose drivers wander the narrow streets of Sana'a and making daily traffic jam and polluted the environment of Sana'a city with their diesel-produced vehicles and darken the clear blue sky with the exhausts. Sometimes I wonder how we can keep living in such polluted atmosphere! Once I heard that if Yemen was attacked by the nuclear weapons, Yemeni people would be affected any more as they every day are exposed to the toxic materials and breathe the most fatal gases and they would be accustomed to.

On the other hand, unfortunately, most of Yemeni people have no environmental sense. They always occupy the beautiful places in the city to chew qat and then they throw the branches and remains of qat on the streets portraying a disgusting image. They drink a water or a juice and they throw the bottles wherever they like and they throw the cans and plastic bags without any sense of responsibility.

In the last few years, we have witnessed that there are intensive efforts extended to beautify the capital and it becomes better if we compare it to the past. However, most people irresponsibly deform all the pretty features that the capital may start to have. For instance, unfortunately, some parents ask and depend on their young children to throw the garbage, yet, those children with their small bodies cannot put the garbage in the special place and they throw it on the streets instead. So, one can see the disgusting views of garbage heaps along with the nasty smells that hurt the passersby and distort the beauty of the capital. Sorrowfully, there are many negatives that distort the beautiful image of the capital that cannot be mentioned in this light column.

When will we enjoy a clean environment and when will the clouds of smoke disappear from Sana'a city sky? When the sense of civilized behavior will prevail?

Where is the role of all mass media as well as the educated people in raising awareness about such crucial issues? Every thing get expensive after the new dose and I hope that we can enjoy the cheapest thing God bestow us, the fresh and clean air? Many questions impose themselves and beg answers from the greater public.