Because it’s the right thing to do

We do live in a country where sometimes the anything-goes mentality supersedes the common good. We’ve seen terrible driving, shoddy building and corner-cutting in our daily lives

It is too early for anyone to give a clear scientific explanation of the reasons for the tragedy in Genoa earlier this week. The loss and destruction was witnessed by all. In 2018, it is something we’re simply not accustomed to in the western world. All we know is something went really wrong.

It is a tragedy which makes us stop to think. I do feel that as a country we should learn to reflect whenever something like this happens. Areas such as civil engineering, aviation and the like are heavily regulated for a reason. The rules are there to protect. The same rules were borne out of experience, and experience in this context often means that some time before things had gone wrong and lessons were learnt.

It is easy to discard regulations as bureaucratic. Some might be bureaucratic, and some might also be needlessly bureaucratic. But for the most part, regulations are important because they are there to protect the public. This is not just the case in civil projects, but throughout the construction industry. Similarly, regulations such as traffic law are there for own safety.

We do live in a country where sometimes the anything-goes mentality supersedes the common good. We’ve seen terrible driving, shoddy building and corner-cutting in our daily lives. We need to understand that this is not on. It is not acceptable. It might be something small, and we allow it turn us into passive viewers, but that is the part of the problem as well. Government might introduce new legislation and rules, but ultimately it is also a cultural thing. Enforcement plays an important part but unless we, as a society, are ready to do the right thing irrespective of whether we’re supervised, we won’t move forward and improve things.

Our younger generation is certainly more aware of these things. In schools we’re developing many different programmes that bring more awareness on the environment, air quality and noise pollution. The introduction of ethics, and appreciating the responsibility we each have within our own community, is also a positive step. But as a society we can do better.

This is not just about not constructing a bridge properly or maintaining it as one should; it is a matter of culture and attitude – it’s about dangerous driving, leaving litter after a BBQ or even something as simple as leaving rubbish bags outside one’s home for an unreasonable amount of time, resulting in involuntarily litter. It starts from the little things, and it goes on to more serious ones.

I don’t believe that such major shortcomings are limited to a particular country or culture – we’ve seen what happened at Grenfell Tower in London and more recently, in Bangladesh with young people protesting dangerous driving – but it is something we can all change and improve. The regulations might be annoying, and sometimes complicated, but they exist for a reason. You shouldn’t wear your seat-belt because the law says so, but because it’s the right thing to do and that need was learnt after countless people died for a lack of one.

Building safe structures, taking care of the environment, not littering, respecting your neighbours by avoiding noise pollution, driving safely and many other things should be done not because the law says so, but because we’re decent human beings. Some of them might be more serious than others, but they’re all made of out the same fabric. It’s called irresponsibility. We can do all do better.

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