Sights that greet the eyes of anyone who takes a stroll down Ramapuram in Chennai – Piles of garbage dumped by the side of the road…Cows grazing on the bits of paper and polythene covers that are scattered across… Street mongrels prowling the area at all hours, looking for food discarded from the local eat-outs…Dust particles swirling about in the way of motorists.
It is no wonder that many residents of the area have respiratory problems. People do get rid of waste from their homes, but it returns back to haunt them in the huge mound round the corner. This huge mountain keeps the viruses and vectors humming with activity all year around.
Ramapuram is not the only place, it is just an example. It is high time that something was done to effectively dispose waste and prevent the spread of diseases. India is now being touted as a rapidly developing country. At this juncture, a conscious effort must be made to improve the living conditions here and also set an example to other developing nations.
These wastes are usually classified as bio degradable and non bio degradable and collected separately from homes. An adequate disposal mechanism is not yet in place in Chennai, which is crying out for action in this regard, especially since the city is expanding to accommodate the scores of migrants from other cities. The Corporation of Chennai has 2 disposal sites. “Open dumping and partly covering with debris” is the disposal mechanism that is being followed. The corporation website says “For improving the existing Landfill sites as Scientific Engineered Landfill M/s. National Productivity Council, New Delhi has been appointed as Consultant and the reports are expected soon”.
The biodegradable waste that is collected can be composted and sold as manure for corporate gardens, home gardens and also for nurseries in and around the city. Plastic bags and other products have to be sent for recycle.
The most important thing is to sensitize the public about this issue. They need to be educated about the significance of proper waste management, starting from personal hygiene. Everyone refrains from spitting or throwing away waste papers or fruit peels when they visit foreign countries. They need to be reminded that they are actually paying a greater price by littering here, than the fine that they would have to pay abroad for littering. More people should join hands with organizations that are fighting to reduce the use of plastics. Schools should also lay emphasis on the importance of cleanliness and encourage children to inculcate the habit of using dustbins not only in schools, but wherever they go.
The “go green” mantra that is now spreading fast across the country has to be kept alive. We all know by now, from what hear about the Copenhagen Meet, that we cannot expect much from the leaders of the world. Tiny drops of water make up the ocean. Let us do our bit in keeping our surroundings clean. Let us also raise our voices to remind those in charge to bring in a more effective system – that is the true essence of democracy.
[Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lecercle/1340742612/]