Friday, September 12, 2008

Have garbage; will throw!!

We Indians seem to be least bothered with the problem of garbage all over; we are just not perturbed by our dirty roads and public places. We are a confident breed and with much confidence we feel relieved by blaming each other for this mess. Dumping garbage outside homes, in public places is not new. Any public place becomes hard to recognize when it is clean and tidy. Most of natural beauties like the towns of Manali and Kullu are now littered by tourists. Even in an unlikely place like the Mount Everest there are heaps of non bio-degradable wastes, robbing it of its pristine beauty.
But the major problem is of dumping garbage as, when and wherever out of one’s own free will. Many cities in India are notorious for their ever growing garbage piles and sanitary landfills, particularly metros. Those who live in apartments and colonies have garbage collectors to pick the domestic waste, and a closed sewage system, but millions of others lack this. They either throw garbage openly in public places. Common practice now is to dispose waste in plastic bags. One day while on my evening stroll, to my surprise I saw a sophisticated man throwing big plastic bags of waste in a public park from his Wagon R car. Similarly, I also saw another educated lady throwing plastic bags in the empty plot in front of her own house! Now can we blame those who are illiterate and don’t have enough to spend on proper waste disposal. More ironic is the fact that often the system is available but people are happy with the mega savings of Rs 20 per month or so. The slums dwellers have a reason but such ‘educated’ people?

Where does this much garbage come from? The ever increasing use of plastic, particularly of use-and-throw items is one reason for this. Polythene bags are choking animals, wreaking havoc on sewers, rivers, natural drains as well as environment as a whole. And what is the solution? Nothing short of banning the plastic bags completely (like in the town of Nahan, HP) will help. But expecting too much from government and municipality would do no good. Every one of us at individual level has to do his bit towards cleanliness and become a catalyst for the change. One can start with his/her own house and neighborhood places. Keep public places clean yourself, inculcate the habit of cleanliness in the kids from the very beginning, and of course, minimize the use of plastic voluntarily: to start with, use cloth or jute bags for shopping. Dump your kitchen waste in some pit below a nearby tree or bush so that it turns into manure. Only a collective effort can help otherwise every city in India will be known for its dumps of garbage soon.

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