We have to admit our failure in putting an end to the phenomenon of slaughtering Eid sacrifices in Egypt's streets.
The whole country has suddenly been turned into a slaughterhouse where hundreds of sheep, goats and cows are being slaughtered in horrifying scenes that have a negative ecological and psychological impact on every one of us.
Despite the fact that the government’s slaughterhouses are widely available for free during Eid to ensure that the sacrifices are slaughtered in a healthy and eco-friendly manner, people are still engaging in this practice on our streets.
I certainly do not know how one can enjoy the food after watching these scenes where the basic rules of hygiene do not exist and the process itself is not secured or monitored. Some people even put their hands in the animal’s blood to mark their doors and gates in a show of pride or to receive blessings. However, the pools of blood and the remains of the animals are left in the open air to fester and produce viruses and bacteria.
These sites can produce the most lethal biological weapons where millions of viruses and bacteria are created in a hot environment, carried by the hot winds to almost every one of us. These winds will not carry the blessings of the sacrifices, but the seeds of lasting serious diseases which we willingly distribute in our streets.
It is no wonder that we have such a small number of tourists during Eid. The reason is obvious, given the ugly scenes of the slaughtering process that ignores basic hygiene rules, with animal entrails and pools of blood covering the streets of Egypt, which ironically boasts thousands of years of civilisation.
These days, our streets disappear under piles of garbage and broken tiles.
Unfortunately, we have gotten used to such scenes that have became part of our day-to-day life. We have been living with such ugliness that has created a large distance between us and the civilised world. We are lagging behind and will lag further unless we put an end to such ugliness.
We should organise campaigns to raise awareness among our people. They should know the extent of the threats and the risks involved in the slaughtering of animals in the streets. The locations of slaughterhouses should be advertised and people should be aware that they provide their services free of charge during Eid. Legislation should also be put in place to penalise violators.
Yet, people should be convinced before the law comes knocking on their doors. Unless they believe and understand the reasons behind the legislations, they will never be committed to following the rules. People should be part of the process, they should be aware that whoever slaughters an animal in the street not only harms himself, but his neighbours as well.
Putting an end to slaughtering Eid sacrifices in the streets will be a demonstration of our capability to overcome bad habits. We should start getting ready now for the coming year; we should work to resurrect the beauty and cleanliness of our streets. Now the slogan should be 'Streets clean of garbage.'
We have the right to breath clean air; we have the right to lead a healthy life. Our children are entitled to an eco-friendly environment; they should not see such ugly scenes and should not fall victim to viruses and bacteria from street food. We deserve a better life and our children should enjoy a better standard of living. Is that too much to ask?
It may be difficult at the moment, but it is worth all the efforts. It is worth it to get back the beauty of our life and the healthy environment of our cities. It is worth it to maintain a better image of our long and lasting civilisation. But the most important thing is to secure a healthy environment for future generations.
*The writer is the editor-in-chief of Al-Ahram daily newspaper