Public littering is rooted within the Lebanese culture, clearly shown on the roads, seafronts, beaches and rivers. For some it’s easier to throw garbage from the window than keeping it inside the car, or dumping it into the river will make it invisible for their eyesight. This embarrassing fact doesn’t reflect the daily life of a Lebanese, who tends to stay clean, hygienic and in-order but solemnly to what he owns.
In a country where the word “public” is still perceived as “stranger”, no law enforcement is reliable enough to impose a general awareness regarding public littering. Instead, many NGOs and personal initiatives tackled this subject, making a buzz on social media but without evident results. Spotting a kid littering in the presence of his parents is lamentable, maybe the adult’s generation is already doomed but avoid inheriting these bad habits to the next generation.
What to do? Give a direct and polite comment asking them to pick it up, and if you feel like throwing it back at them, then do it.
2. Damage to public properties
One of the shameful attributes to Lebanese is the negligence they demonstrate towards any public property. Damaging a lamppost, scratching on a road sign to express a political or social view, parking on a pavement reserved for pedestrians is something considered normal. The municipality of every city or village in Lebanon should issue paid fines for any violation on public properties, to make to them aware that their apathetic actions are directly linked to the community taxes they are paying at the end of the day.
What to do? Report them to the municipality or police; sooner or later they will feel the need to use those properties they damaged.
3. Reckless driving
More than half of the Lebanese population got their license without attending any driving school. They were self-learners or at the hand of a family member that skipped any driving instructions and respect towards the other drivers. The module they learned included “how to arrive first” or “me and my car come first”. Some drive on the white lanes rather than between, others pass a red light when they see no one on the opposite side; some consider themselves smart when following an ambulance stuck in traffic, while others park their cars in foolish ways to shorten their walking distance of few meters.
The root of the problem persists in the easiness of getting a driver’s license, with basic conditions or with the use of a “Wasta”. Adding to that, the neglecting condition and lack of maintenance on some vehicles circulating the Lebanese roads, with missing backlights to defective brakes on trucks that puts other drivers in constant danger.
What to do? Avoid a direct contact with such people as it might puts you in trouble, instead report them by taking a picture and posting it on different social medias or through TMC Lebanon.
4. Sound pollution
It is normal for a busy city such as Beirut to be noisy with traffic and construction sites, which is a healthy sign of an economy under development. What is not normal is the redundant sound of nocturnal constructions in residential areas, exceeded nightlife regulations, loud audio car systems, highways drifting or the continuous honking on a red light. Some Lebanese find a joy in disturbing others, by shooting in the air or lighting fireworks at midnight, thinking the others around also want to share their joyful moments.
What to do? Talk to them, if this failed, report their actions to the nearest police station. Law enforcement might shake them a little bit.
Standing in line is considered a waste of time in Lebanon. Sometimes I wonder what are they afraid of, could the restaurant run out of food, or the plane takes off leaving them behind. This anarchy can be divided into three categories: First, the annoying excuses of someone being in a hurry or having his kids left in the car, second the jerk who goes directly to the cashier totally ignoring the people waiting before him, third the ones who keep grumbling about it and end up doing like the rest.
What to do? Simply do not let them pass. And if they insist, wisely explain to them why they should stand in line. The workers at the premises will surely stand by your side.
A civilized society has an education system for its children, and a set of laws and regulations that protect its citizens. An uncivilized society does not have a government or a lot of rules in place for its people, and where the law of the strongest prevails. Beside safety and culture, the main characteristics of a civilized society come in the form of compassion and care for one’s surroundings; but in Lebanon we fail…big time.