Jordan’s EnviroCops & the Trash Mentality

With a rise of public parks being established in an attempt to beautify the country, or rather Amman, the environment is playing a more key role than ever. In fact while most Jordanians neglect it, the environment is actually something that they complain about the most. Smog pollution in Zarqa, noise pollution in Amman, trash, and hillside wildfires. But the mentality I suppose is that someone else will clean up the mess. And someone else does most of the time. The GAM employees many trash collectors who sweep the streets every morning all across Amman.

“Envirocrime” is now becoming an issue for the government, so they’ve come up with a plan to establish Enviro-Cops (not to be confused with Robocop who’s from the future)

The unit, which is expected to be set up during the first quarter of 2006 according to Shboul, will be created within the PSD and include some 600 to 1,000 environmental police officers.

The team will inspect factories, industrial zones, and picnic areas and fine violators of environmental laws.

but more importantly…

To spread awareness on the environment police, a media campaign will be launched coinciding with the inauguration of the unit, according to Shboul.

Suprisingly, they only thought of this 3 months ago. I thought of this 10 years ago. As I’m sure many of you have.

Forget a media campaign: an education campaign is what is required. You can’t teach your kids to be reckless and throw their trash on the ground. I’ve seen mothers smack their kid’s hands to get them to drop an empty Pepsi can on the street. And for a second I find myself in a daydream where I confuse Jordan with this ultra-wealthy nation that has a butler for every citizen who walks around with us cleaning up our shit. A nation that is blessed with a vast amount of resources and land.

I’ve had extensive conversations about the importance of the environment with my friends there and most of them shrugged me off like it was the least of our worries. They usually come around after living abroad for some time.

But I’ve also seen cops throw garbage out of their squad cars. So maybe we need to educate them as well because they’re definitely not enforcing any enviro laws.

An education campaign. Yes! An education campaign, to teach people how littering sucks. Take out the school students to clean a park for a day as part of a mandatory community service program. (come to think of it, I wonder if we have a green party in Jordan?)

I know, I know…all of you Jordanians (or even Arabs) reading this are shaking your heads saying no way will this work. So then we’re left with one thing that is sure to work…

the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) yesterday called on the Traffic Department to increase the fine imposed on motorists who discard litter onto the streets. Currently, the fine for this violation ranges from JD10-20, but GAM has asked the department to increase the penalty to JD50

â??We called for making the fine heavier to preserve the environment and mitigate the burden placed on GAM staff, whose job of keeping the streets clean is hampered by careless littering…â? GAM Legal Department Director Iman Sarayrah

now a taxi driver responded to this last bit of news in the following manner:

Taxi driver Mahmoud Al Bai acknowledged that the higher fees would be a bigger burden on him.

â??I get tickets sometimes twice daily, which means I hardly make a few dinars by the end of the day,â? he said.

â??If this measure is endorsed, I will suffer more, as will many other taxi drivers,â? Bai added.

Shame on you Jordan! Destroying the livelihood of thousands of Jordanian taxi drivers who thrive on throwing their cigarettes and empty plastic coffee cups on the ground. For shame I say! For shaaaame!


  • Once at a traffic light I got out and threw a McD cup back into the Mercedes convertible from which it had been thrown. I don’t know who was more shocked: me, the trash thrower, the surrounding motorists, or my kids. I knew I needed to get out of Jordan for a while after that.

    Seriously, there are already some schools with planned ‘clean-up’ days going on. There is no greater way to teach kids to keep kids from pitching trash than making them pick up someone else’s.

    There is no greater way to teach adults than making it cost ’em. I’m glad there is a fine, but raising it without enforcing it is no good. Like the rest of the traffic laws.

  • kinzi, ” but raising it without enforcing it is no good”, you reminded me of complaints i sometimes here over hear about how someone got a parking ticket because the cop was just filling his monthly quota.

    they should give a monthly quota for cops in jordan when it comes to envrio-violations

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