A Common Man’s Shoulds And Should-Nots


Yes! We are taking you back to your 8th standard environmental science lesson. You didn’t understand it back then but you should NOW!

Almost a decade earlier, R K Laxman made the character of the ‘common man’ popular in his cartoon which goes by the same name. Through his creation he tried to express his belief on the power on the common man.

Years later, in the movie A Wednesday, Naseeruddin Shah expresses his remorse on being the helpless common man, “Live like a common man, tolerate like a common man, and die like a common man”. Why?

The perception of the ‘common man’ has changed but has our power changed too? Has our thinking and acting ability weakened with the passing time? What has gone so wrong with the common man that the capital of this nation is the most polluted city in the world? Has the common man forgotten that it’s up to him whether he lives a pollution-free life in this country or not.

We would like to bring to your attention the shoulds and should-nots of the common man for reducing pollution.

Excluding the industrial waste omission all the other kinds of pollution starts from the home of the common man. To put it in a nutshell, understand that kitchen gardens, segregation of dry and wet waste are the stepping stones to a better environment. And also, stop disposing your garbage in someone else’s courtyard, and warn others against this as well. This action is unhygienic and immensely rude. Judicial use of water at home should be practiced in domestic activities.

LITTERING, yes we had to type it out in bold because this is the gravest issue. Why is the common man confusing the roads, the metro trains, or the theatre halls as garbage bins? There are more garbage piles than on the roads or on the streets. If a dustbin isn’t within your reach, carry the empty packets or foils home and dispose it in the dustbins at your residence.


Plastic is a hazardous and a prime pollution causing element. And the enforcement of the plastic-ban is such a big issue for the government because of common people like us. There’s no dearth of alternatives of plastic in this day and age. We should opt for these alternatives. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Repeat. Recycling plants is a wonderful government initiative. A number of colleges, all over the country have paper recycling plants which don’t only save trees but they also reduce littering as students have strict instructions for disposing paper waste.

Sticking to the basics is or rather has become such an indispensable thing when it comes to environmental issues. The basics of -‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness’.

We should stop cribbing over advertisements and guidelines which request one to stop playing with water on Holi; or to burst fire crackers on Diwali. Festivals can survive without them, and for the better. We should not shy away from public transport.

These privileges are for our benefit, so if not us then who will use them. The more people use personal vehicles, the more the amount of pollution.Traffic flow will be much smoother and noise pollution much lesser. And if you find the state of such transport too horrid to travel in, ask yourself if you can do anything to make it better.

Metros, buses, fare-sharing autos are also pocket friendly- all the more reasons for you to use public transports.


We crib about the amount of dust and pollution that we have to face in our day-to-day life. We should step in and make a difference. We are all crucial social agents; the active and passive participants of the society. Our actions structure the welfare or the doom of the society we live in. Believe it or not, our actions are responsible for our own as well as the health of others.

Clearly, India is a developing nation and we have our own share of problems. Appalling problems. Pollution is an issue where we can’t take a backseat. As citizens, reducing and terminating pollution is a duty that government alone can’t handle.

Do what a common man is best capable of doing, taking action! Make India a healthier, greener and a more sustainable place to live in!

Aamina Rahim

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