*** ----> Misplaced charity in public space | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Misplaced charity in public space

By Captain Mahmood Al Mahmood

When the pandemic was flattening our lives, people quickly chose to appeal to municipal authorities to dismantle the unsightly clothing charity boxes in street corners out of fear of contamination.

But now they are back with a vengeance.

There were situations where not one but two or three charities – some from way across town – clubbed their charity containers into one popular chosen spot.

This led to not just a compromise on aesthetics but serious road safety issues as well, since it affected driver visibility at the bend of roads where the containers were usually kept.

Moreover, they also took up pavement space meant for pedestrians.

The best-kept secret seems to be that the tee-shirts and old trousers you donate do not go to clothe people in Bahrain, who would not be seen wearing hand-me-downs.

Instead, they are sorted, packed and sold/ shipped off to charities serving very poor and marginalised communities.

The money thus raised, is used to buy shopping vouchers for Bahrain’s needy families.

This multi-layered approach probably keeps old clothes off landfills and gives them a new lease of life.

But the carbon-saving points are probably compromised by the transportation logistics needed to reach them to the charities in need.

It is therefore, timely that the Minister of Municipalities and Agriculture has announced a crackdown on these charity clothing containers so as to regulate their display points and ensure that too many are not crowded in one area.

I also want to add another point for the Ministry to control and that is the feeding of pigeons in roundabouts and open ground.

Most times, this seeming act of charity is actually just a dumping of old food waste by nearby restaurants.

Our pigeons are fattened on stale biryani and bread but the leftovers attract flies and rats which are a hygiene hazard.

People throwing away food waste in the name of bird feed should be punished – don’t we remember how the City of London dismantled the feeding of pigeons in Trafalgar Square, which was a tourist attraction, because of the damage caused by the birds to nearby buildings, statues and cars?

Seemingly minor aesthetic amendments to our urban planning will lead to a better and healthier life all around.



Captain Mahmood Al Mahmood is the Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Tribune and the President of the Arab-African Unity Organisation for Relief, Human Rights and Counterterrorism