One Sunday I was watching Ben10 on Cartoon Network and I heard footsteps on our pergola. I looked up ready to scream melodramatically when I saw a pair of... stripy shorts.
Dad? I inquired. Oh hi, he replied. Apparently he’s heard that the Health Authority found dengue breeding spots next door and my neighbor could literally go to jail, so he was checking our roof for any mosquito nurseries after the rain. My dad, who wouldn’t be bothered really, up on the roof, in the scorching sun prompted by jail sentence.
I think Sri Lanka has tons of opportunities for good change, with the help of penalizing minor(?) offences and keeping it at a standard. Singapore penalized taxed spitting on the roads which resulted in squeaky clean pavements and a social change, while India fines peeing in public (I’m not too sure how that turned out though). In Sri Lanka I think the main problem is that penalties are formed and not carried out. Its practically free potential cash, flowing into government coffers for crying out loud.
Here are some penalties I think should be taken seriously, especially in Colombo.
1. The seat-belt law – I heard it was Rs. 5000 if you’re caught driving without it. I anyway wear mine after seeing a propaganda video where a guy’s spine gets crushed while driving at just 40kmph. (eek!) But the big ha-ho amounted in nothing, and you can still freely drive without it.
2. The bus lane – Aren’t they supposed to travel on the left-most lane? NOT. -__- Plus they do the worst possible traffic offices and some police officers don’t even bat an eyelid!
3. Throwing non-biodegradables while traveling – I HATE THIS! And everyone does it out of convenience! Rs. 5000!!!
4. Spitting – yuck. Rs. 1000
5. Peeing – Oh well, at least it isn’t as bad as India. Rs. 1500
6. Animal abuse – anyone caught abusing should serve a week’s sentence at least. And complaints should be taken seriously, be it pets or livestock.
There should be laws for puppy mills, pet shops and pet licenses to make people think twice about getting a pet and not caring for it properly!
7. Mosquito related disease – Dengue just got totally out of hand last year. I personally know so many people who lost their loved ones. Crazy. It was the same with Chickengunya, I know an aunty who still finds it hard to walk or go up steps. You breed em? You go to jail buster!!! (Plus 50,000 thankyouverymuch)
8. Noise pollution – Anyone who makes noise between 10PM-5AM in a residential area, be it a vehicle, their dog, music, sex – complaints should be taken seriously -_-
9. Littering – each shop owner should be responsible for dirt in front of their own shop. Same with households. I’m sure the city will be cleaner then.
I can’t think of anymore right now. but practical penalties maybe a start to change the majority of undisciplined Sri Lankans who think our urban issues are someone else’s problem.