Overflowing garbage from the bins or garbage dumped in drains or on the roadside – all of these are quite a common sight in India. No matter how much we preach and propagate the ways of green and healthy living, it is WE at the end of the day who do not follow the same.
The problem of waste dumping is something erupted in past 10-20 years or so. What accelerated the situation to a worse phase is the rapid urbanization that happened in the recent years. And thanks to this event of urbanization we today can not think of our day-to-day existence without plastics. Even though we are so very much aware of the adverse effects of plastics, it has still managed to weave itself inseparably with our lives. And thus, in my views, it can be tagged as one of the major problems of waste disposal in India.
Of course, no matter how much we blame the very existence of plastics for causing damage to our environment it is WE who are responsible for all this. We humans have to take the blame of damaging our Mother Nature as plastic and its vivid usage are one of those “advanced” inventions by Homo Sapiens which we all boast of all the time. We have undoubtedly come a long way as a civilization. But what we eventually started ignoring is the very essence of what our life stands for. Environment and nature have always been an integral part of our existence. She has played an insignificant role in our journey. We have gradually ignored her contribution with each step of progress that we took. Even today when simple day-to-day habits can make a substantial difference in the ways of environment conservation we choose to ignore them.
The problem of waste disposal essentially refers to the problem of solid waste management that is facing a crisis zone in India. The very first line of this article says it all about the present situation of waste disposal in India. This kind of scene can be witnessed in every narrow lane of each city in our country that is indeed an unfortunate fact.
The very basic ill mentality of cleaning own house and thrashing the garbage outside lays the foundation of the problem of waste disposal management. In layman terms, we all understand it as disposing of garbage keeping the environment clean. But the definition of environment in our mind restricts to our house only. We all tend to clean the garbage of our home and then dispose of it off to a roadside dumping area. And this roadside dumping area has acquired a status of an “authorized” dumping ground in no time without anyone’s knowledge.
Public urination, in my views, is yet another vulgar and cheapest ways in which we humans have contributed in damaging the environment. All the mentioned ‘noble” deeds by us are nothing but a matter of compost surfacing at one place. Whether its plastics being melting where the garbage is being dumped or the corrosion of walls happening due to acidified liquid disposed of the human body – all produces harmful gases that are not beneficial to our health or the health of our Mother Nature. This continuous compost of wastes leads to the stinking smell that fills the surrounding area inviting disease carrying mosquitoes and flies.
This further takes a horrific shape when garbage is dumped into the drains and sewers that block the flow of water. I am sure all of us have witnessed colorful plastics carry bags being stuffed with all sorts of garbage being floated on the water of the drainage systems.
This picturesque might seem to be very common but trust me its the most horrific state of ailment that we completely ignore. It not only damages the nature by the producing gases that choke the fresh air present in the surrounding environment but also gives rise to several water-borne and air-borne diseases.
Another major reason that leads to the serious crisis in waste management in India is that we people simply refuse to categorize waste.
From the very initial stage we have been taught that Biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes learnt a hell number of facts about 3 Rs – reduce, recycle, and reuse. We have deliberately chosen to shut a blind eye to all of the knowledge we all have gathered over the years. For example, wastes such as unused battery cells, metallic cans, parts of electronic gadgets should never be disposed of along with other domestic wastes such as peels of vegetables or fruits et al. Such wastes have a different category altogether, and that is why known as E-wastes. They are not meant to be dissolved in the soil as other wastes such as vegetable wastes. Rather a continuous disposal of such e-waste items at a particular location damages the surface area of that location. This happens because the chemicals from those electronic wastes eventually melt down and mixes with the soil/water. Rather than dissolving into them it mixes up to create harming gases completely corroding the quality of soil (or water) destroying all its benefits. This is the reason factory/industry wastes are considered majorly responsible for water pollution. This is because it creates foams over the surface of water completely choking air and light for the creatures residing in there.
And now there is something called landfill. A landfill is an area where all of the dumps from each of our houses gets deposited. But here the sad part lies in the context of the workers who work for the disposal of this huge chunk of wastes. These people do the noblest thing of all by cleaning up the garbage. And it is the most unfortunate fact they are living in the worst conditions of all. What upsets me is the fact that a substantial number of such workers involve young children who work with bare hands.
A simple step of classifying wastes from our side would prevent them handling the e-wastes with bare hands. We all see two separate bins been put up in almost all the public places. One for biodegradable waste and the other for non-biodegradable. But the filth in our mind makes us completely ignore the classification of such signs. The result is that all of the waste gets dumped in one common landfill.
From there further classification is done by those who are least privileged and handle all the trash with bare hands exposing their skin to harmful chemicals.
To conclude, I would strongly recommend the classification of wastes by their kind. We all more or less have potted plants in our house. Therefore, we all can use the vegetable wastes to be used as manure for those potted plants. And instead of feeling sorry on the social mentality of our fellow-citizen on seeing anyone dumping garbage on roadside we can protest to that. And trust me if each one of us take such an action even if it is occasionally the society is bound to change taking a step forward towards a clean environment.