The Problem of Waste Management

Railway tracks in our country are comparable to garbage dumps, where it seems that it has been assumed that the running train will perhaps recycle the waste. But unfortunately it doesn’t. Roadsides have been courageously considered to be available for everyone’s disposal and hence if one doesn’t find a dustbin, it’s his rightful resort. These are just minor examples of the increasing negligence in even the ultra-urban cities of our country.

Once while watching a travel show on NDTV Good Times, I saw a small Italian town with brick roads and narrow streets. It reminded me of my ancestral village which I had visited a few times. But the only and a major difference was that the town being shown was immaculately clean. One could walk barefoot as opposed to the abuse of cleanliness in my village. I remember anyone not thinking twice before placing the waste material on the road. But this is not a typical case. It’s the story of every town and city in India today.

Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Bangalore – these are considered to be the most developed cities and industrial hubs of the nation. Ironically, if one takes a stroll around the city, he would necessarily pass by dumps of garbage more often than a cluster of trees. This is a sorry state of affairs indeed because when we pass besides it, the only thing we do is close our nostrils and when the smell goes off, we ourselves become negligent and carelessly throw a piece of waste out of our pocket on the street being intentionally unaware of the fact that this paper piece would soon grow into another garbage dump.

The democratic status of the nation will score cent percent when it comes to the waste disposal since whatever the majority decides is a dustbin to us – whether it’s the road side, a flower pot, a tree root or whichever place we think is convenient.

The situation is grimmer than what it sounds from layman incidents stated above. Despite the fact that all of us have had proper education and if not, are well aware of the consequences, we still tend to litter around. The effort being put from an individual is so less that the rate of waste disposal is far more than the removal. This is because the part of population spreading the waste is huge as compared to the people involved in cleaning it up.

Being one of the most religious countries of the world, we have huge number of temples and places of worship. But even these places are loitered with waste. All the religious scriptures including the vaastu principle insist on keeping the places of worship clean which is even evident from the practice of removing the shoes before entering a temple. But as soon as we climb down the stairs, it seems that people assume that God can’t see beyond the walls of the temple and after that we can afford not to be clean. There is a wise saying stating – “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” but what we are doing is spreading ‘un’cleanliness next to Godliness.

This careless behaviour can have serious repercussions. Besides spoiling the aesthetic beauty of the place, it pollutes the environment in all the possible ways. Land pollution is evident owing to the heaps of waste getting higher with each passing day. This waste also gets swept and drained into the sources of water and hence becomes the most untraceable source of water pollution. Very often, because of the impossibility of cleaning and disposing such huge dumps, they are burnt and hence cause severe air pollution owing to all the kinds of material being burnt.

While we have municipal corporations formed to take care of such issues, they cannot hang the ‘No garbage dump here’ board at each corner of every road. The change will not come unless each individual understands the need to keep the environment clean for which each one of us has to put an effort to make it happen.

Public awareness programs explaining the need and advantages of proper waste disposal management and its affect on the environment and eventually on each person should be conducted periodically. Such issues should be included in the school curriculum so that the awareness is created from the basic level itself.

Better waste management and disposal systems should be devised. The lack of proper management and laxity in the implementation encourages one to throw waste at any convenient location.
There should be well defined laws and rules for proper waste disposal and abuse of the same should be a cognizable offense. Proper punishments and fines should be imposed on people violating the rules. Because when it hits your pocket, it hurts your heart the most.

The issue sounds manageable when it is at a lower level but can grow to a severe intensity if not taken care of. If ‘google earth’ could recognize the waste dumps, there would have been spots and blots all over the map.

Proper waste management is not only necessary at an individual level but should be taken to a mass level. We should understand our responsibilities towards the environment and strive for a better world.

Seema Dahiya

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