The Green Crusader
Blog by Swati Thiyagarajan
5/10/2012 2:18:43 PM
The Supreme Court has called India's plastic waste or precisely the plastic bags we tend to use and throw a bigger threat to India then the atom bomb. While that might be a wee exaggeration it does most certainly highlight one of the biggest scourges of modern India's threats to our environment and well being.
Have any of you been to any city, town or even the mountains or the beaches and not seen plastic bags or wrappers or chips packets or plastic bottles not thrown around? in your own colony how many times have you seen the "kuda wallah" or the "kupai karan" or otherwise known as the rubbish collector come with his cart to collect the garbage that is strewn everywhere?
It is estimated that across India over 40 percent of the solid waste that is thrown out regularly is never collected. The rest is collected in an ad hoc fashion often rotting and smelling for days at a time before it is moved to our land fill sites.
Indian cities alone generate about 100 million tonnes of solid waste a year; that is the garbage equivalent of 20 million Asian elephants. Imagine that for a minute, 20 million Asian elephants in a group; how much space and volume will they occupy?
Is this how we see our country in the 21st century? While we are busy dreaming of manned missions to the moon, we are inhaling the stench of rotting garbage. Do we need rocket science to be able to decode this problem? Because if we don't, we are well on our way towards covering India or rather burying it under a mound of garbage; that would be some sight from the moon.
In the year 2000, the Supreme Court of India directed all Indian cities to implement a comprehensive waste management program that would include household collection of segregated waste recycling and composting. So here comes the rub. While we can and must rant and rave about the fact that the governments of various cities , particularly the municipalities not doing their jobs or implementing systems that will help, let's please also point the finger right back at ourselves. Notice that the court said "household collection of segregated waste, recycling and composting", hmmm... that is our job. Do we segregate? Do we recycle? Do we compost?. If the answer is NO, NO, NO, you are equally responsible for the all the elephants ...oops... garbage lying around.
Stay tuned to this space as we bring you various suggestions and methods by which we can start to segregate, recycle and compost.
The NDTV Greenathon this year, going live on May 20, asks all the citizens of this wonderful democracy to come forward with their garbage to various hubs in your city to show what can be done with that garbage. We will be soon posting where these hubs will be located. They say cleanliness is next to godliness, I leave you to draw your own conclusions to what dirt and garbage are next to. What's even worse is that we are physically next to all of it and that is certainly not good.
"We have to remember that we can't keep abusing the environment and every one of
us can and should do our bit"
THE GREEN RUN
Share Your Green Idea
Your city could get the biggest tree on our Green Map. Write in with your ideas
You can also send us your ideas at
Green stat of the day
One Pet bottle can be recycled into bristles for 20 tooth brushes.