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Landfills and starving dogs

Landfills and starving dogs
January 22
09:45 2018

Being a conservationist at heart, I honestly believe the landfill should be a place where people can salvage some materials and recycle them. It is not supposed to be a stinking pile of kitchen waste mixed with plastic and other bad materials. The African dog can take care of kitchen waste (Blurb)

From first- or second-hand knowledge, we know that the jungle boasts the best environmental watchdogs and cleaners. The ‘bare-necked’ vulture has no peers when it comes to watching and keeping the veldt clean. Other scavengers understand the indisputable value of vultures and always honour the ground above which this majesty of winged creatures hovers. They know this is a guaranteed sign of a free meal. Because of vultures, we don’t need landfills in the wild. The animal kingdom is a perfectly automated system where every creature performs its purpose, something that humans only experience in the minority.

One of the typical signs that you are in an African city is the common sighting of mostly unsightly stray dogs. Although in the real sense of “stray,” most of these dogs are not fit, you will nevertheless come across an evidently hungry dog sniffing around at trash bins and salvaging what it can. This often reminds me of what my dear departed mother taught me when I was young back on the beautiful plateau of Nthane Farmlands on the fringes of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. I was fond of owning dogs mostly for the purpose of hunting rabbits, and my mother always reminded me that a person who owns a dog shouldn’t finish his food. Although I was never served an extra portion to leave for my dog, this education did not fly over my head. The philosophy behind was that one should take care of his responsibilities using whatever little means he has.


I did try but occasionally chose to ‘forget’ this education, depending what was for dinner. Not all foods were created equal and dogs don’t like certain foods like dumplings and rice.


The average Motswana acquired and interacted with money from a background of meagre means. By the time I acquired my own means, I was already aware that the amount of food you could throw away was one of the basic indicators of personal wealth. Unfortunately, when these poverty-imposed indicators of wealth were silently endorsed, we lost control of our leftover food. I blame rice for that. I cannot imagine how long it took the first “rice-eaters” of the Kalahari to figure out how much rice to put in a pot! But quantity aside, the kind of waste generated looked so good that no one ever thought of giving it to dogs. You should know that in the traditional African context, giving food to the dogs is a disposal method. This is why dogs eat leftovers, and by leftovers I am not referring to the kind that people carefully collect at weddings and funerals. I am talking about real trash, good only for real dogs. By the way, next time you ask for a doggy bag at a restaurant, be sure you have a dog. Otherwise just call it “take away” like the rest of us and stop playing sophisticated.

Now, I think when development and money overran us, we never had time to think about certain simple things. As more and more people started to drink tea and eat bread, our trash piled up. Even as we continued to own dogs, those who did also started to behave badly, like the Europeans. They started buying groceries for dogs, leaving no one to take care of leftovers. The dog and its owner both had leftovers, which gave us stinking landfills and trash bins.

Being a conservationist at heart, I honestly believe the landfill should be a place where people can salvage some materials and recycle them. It is not supposed to be a stinking pile of kitchen waste mixed with plastic and other bad materials. The African dog can take care of kitchen waste.

But I am an optimistic conservationist and I am sure all is not lost. We can still learn from the Chinese and introduce a “One Family Two Dogs” policy. This policy would rescue starving dogs and reduce the stench at landfills. We don’t even all have to own dogs because there are enough dogs in the neighbourhood, some of which indirectly provide us with much-needed security at night.

There is no need for money laundering under the pretext of a consultancy. The necessary data is readily available to implement this policy because all landfills and neighbourhoods in the towns are patrolled by hungry dogs. Let’s feed the dog and rescue the landfills!

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