Indians are the most versatile species on this world who will survive anything anywhere and even succeed, we are the richest in culture and heritage, we are the gurus in IT, innovation, yoga and spirituality, we are foodies with the largest variety of cuisine, we love socializing, we are the oldest civilization but… but… we are also one of the dirtiest and one of the highly polluted countries of the world.
So where is the problem? Why have we not succeeded on this aspect?
Why are we so insensitive to our surroundings when we make every effort to keep our houses spic and span? Is it because it is auspicious inside and unholy outside? or do we only complain and crib about it but never act on it ourselves?
Gautama Buddha asked the distressed Gotami to get a handful of mustard from a house which never saw death, on similar lines if he were to ask today to get mustard from that Indian who has never thrown a plastic bottle or a chips cover out in the open then it would dawn on us that we are all equally guilty and that the moksha from garbage lies within us.
It is true that there has been a drastic rise in production and consumption which is directly proportional to the wastes that is generated be it domestic, commercial, industrial or institutional wastes but are we so ill-equipped to deal with this mess? Are we so primitive not to understand where we are heading?
The biggest problem is the Mind Set ……as long as the filth is out of my house or my car or my vicinity everything is just fine. This is called the ‘All izzzzzzz Well’ syndrome!! People of one street walk up all the way to the corner of the next street and happily dump their garbage bags in the open in front of another house oblivious to the inconvenience they are causing to others and the environment. The moment that toffee is eaten or that chips packet polished it has to be thrown out of the window instantly else our hands itch and pants burn. Why not, we are elite and above all isn’t? But we cry ‘Izz desh ka kuch nahi hone wala hai’!!
If you are a clean crusader your questioning or any garbage policing will invite unwarranted cynicism, mistrust and arrogance from noble souls.
So the simplest thing you could do is pick it up yourself and applaud them for their nobility.
But the same set of people if they were to live abroad they would shut up and follow every rule of that land and just fall in line lest they get fined or even imprisoned.
Essentially it is utter disrespect for your own neighbourhood and your own country.
Have you ever thought of having a little plastic bag/bin in your car to dump waste until you find a trash can?
I do this all the time when I travel.
If you are disposing waste anywhere and everywhere you have lost your right to complain.
We Indians love food and that too street food
Every time you dispose that use and throw plate after your Paani Puri have you wondered how much of unnecessary plastic we are using?
You could probably ask your gaadiwaala to use leaf plates and earthen cups and when you dispose it please segregate the straws/plastic spoons from the leaf cups/tender coconuts.
Talk to them about the minimal use of plastic and maximum use of trash cans that would help build a clean India.
Every time you parcel some food or buy stuff, carry your own bag/box from home don’t ask for a new plastic bag. This will surely help reduce the mounds of plastic strewn around.
Lesser Consumption = Lesser Garbage Generation = Lesser Pollution = CLEAN INDIA
We are very spiritual and religious too
But why are our holy places and all its surroundings so dirty and over-crowded and over-flowing with dirt, people and plastic?
Our huge insensitive population is one of the biggest reasons as to why our country is so dirty.
The premises of the Govardhan temple near Mathura was utterly shocking, people just drank/ate lassi/prasadam and threw it on the floor as if it was a ritual. I wanted to prostrate and offer my prayers but alas I could hardly see any floor space left, it was full of paper/plastic cups.
A darshan with overt pushing and stamping each other brings more punya, if you have not tripped while taking prasadham then you are a sinner!!
It would be more peaceful if the devotees did some cleansing of their minds as well by not elbowing and rushing in the queue. I guess even this should be taught to our folks.
Your TRUE KAANIKHE(OFFERINGS) Should be in keeping the Temple/monument vicinity clean.
Heritage centres, Monuments and Tourism
India is full of travel wonders with rich monuments and shrines of great heritage but sadly most locals around that place don’t value or understand its importance nor do the weary visitors realise when they leave behind loads of plastic and waste as their trail mark.
Lakhs of us travel across India, visiting our serene hill stations, dense jungles, beaches and waterfalls, ancient monuments and architectures but unfortunately most of them are badly maintained with people littering and even defecating around mindlessly.
When I visited the Nihargarh fort in Jaipur the guide led us to view the queen’s bathing place we were welcomed with a stench lined by festoons of red altha like paan markings on all corners, floors, walls the grandeur was when we saw a gentleman peeing in the queen’s ancient toilet. A few couples itched their love eternally on the outer walls. The guide or the police are equally helpless like me it is this insensitivity that needs to be addressed.
A few steps that the Government should also impose and enforce:
- Eateries should be penalized if they don’t have adequate dust bins, in fact every shop/road side carts should compulsorily keep a dust bin for the customer’s benefit.
- Every street should have large stench free dust bins which cannot be robbed overnight and should be maintained effectively with appropriate lids.
- It is important to telecast the history and importance of local heritage structures in the local radio/television and emphasize the revenue it could generate if it were a sought after tourist place to the locals and bring about awareness to people about their apathy towards their land.
- The Government could incorporate adequate trash cans which we can approach without closing our nose at all public places especially tourist and religious places along with clean functional toilets.
- The Government could also make tourist and religious places PLASTIC FREE ZONES.
- Controlling the number of devotees per day and vigorous efforts to infuse the clean-up culture among devotees and the staff by training the staff adequately and educating the masses by way of playing videos, identifying where to dispose waste and making appropriate provisions for disposing waste in a hygienic way would surely make our pilgrimages more holier and more inspirational.
- The Government could tie up with brands like Harpic/Domex/Sanifresh/Dettol to maintain public toilets and call them Swachh toilets. As a pilot project it could be tried at all petrol bunks where most toilets don’t have a door, even if they have one the latch is missing or you will probably end up flushing it with your own Bisleri bottle before using it. I told you about the ‘All izzzz well’ syndrome.
- They could also employ eunuchs and reformed criminals as Swachh police across India because our people only understand ‘Dhandam Dasha Gunam’.
- The unruly and callous attitude of the Pourakarmicas should be corrected, they normally collect garbage from only those houses who pay them up every month and those who refuse to pay will simply see the garbage of the entire area lye in front of their homes.
The least we could do is
- Not dispose trash anywhere and everywhere,
- Be more organized by carrying our own water bottles and refilling it
- Carry our own bags instead of asking for a new plastic bag each time,
- Pick up at least one plastic bottle or one chips wrapper thrown in the open and put it in the bin. I do this simple thing wherever I travel.
A few brand names could market their products by donating sturdy bins along with labels of their association with Swacchata in public places and also own up maintenance of few areas. The government could tie up with reputed business/IT folks like this and provide tax rebates to such firms.
Did you know that more than a million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals die every year because of plastic rubbish? Syringes, cigarette lighters, toothbrushes were found in stomachs of seabirds.
It will be hazardous if it enters our food chain because what goes into the ocean will come back on your dinner plates. Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-512424/Rubbish-dump-floating-Pacific-Ocean-twice-size-America.html#ixzz3HodgUiIq
Have you ever thought of how much trash you are generating when you throw that flamboyant birthday party with all those steamers, balloons, wrapping papers, hats, whistles, paper/plastic cups and spoons, boxed/ canned food, goodie bags that are full of plastic crap packaged further in funky plastic bags which loses value just after minutes of that party and accumulates in the trash?
Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. -Benjamin Franklin
Can we think of having green parties?
I don’t mean any austerity here but certainly you don’t need plastic to have fun isn’t?
When I say going green it is essentially cutting down on unnecessary plastic usage and avoiding junk unsaturated foods and making the party a fun filled and memorable one for your child by baking a cake yourself or with your wildest creative insights on games and activities. Goodie bags could be replaced by caricatures, plants or crafting your own pencil box/toys with the waste materials and many more. Just let your imaginations drift away from plastic crap.
End of the day it is more about what is the message you want to give to your younger ones.
If you want to bring about a change be the change yourself
Your child will pick qualities from you, if you are savvy about gadgets so does your child, if you are an avid reader your child picks up a book, if you are painting and potting your child innately follows you, if your child is snatching the remote from your hand it is because you are hooked excessively to the TV/internet, if you put the trash in the bin and emphasize on a clean surrounding your child will simply imitate you.
This post is a contribution to the Clean India Campaign of IndianTopBlogs.