Awakening towards waste management

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Composition of Municipal Solid waste in Himachal Pradesh.

River of plastic’, Froth of chemical, illegal dumping, Piles of garbage, choked Nallas and more and more. All these incidences points towards only one thing, that management of waste (in all forms) is a subject far below in the priority list of the current society. Governments come making loud noises like ‘Clean India’ and ‘Swatch Bharat’. They even broom the floors but only for a camera angle. As none of them after the one show for publicity are ever heard or seen cleaning even their own chairs and tables.

Make big plans, talk global and keep the citizen guessing with only minimal on ground is the new way forward for authorities. What they term ‘development’ mostly leaves behind changing ecology and wooing citizens. And then while developing one end it is seen that other ends are left uncovered. Like for example while promoting Eco tourism the authorities forget installing dustbins enroute. Maybe in lack of budgets/any other logistical roadblock the bins can’t be installed. But then neither is a system of checks ensured to stop commuters/users from garb aging during their sojourns. All treks/walks/hikes/drives promoted for tourism purpose in the state today are witnessing the same threat’ Piles of Garbage/Plastic’. The plight extends to the level that few months before the acting Chief Justice of State High Court Justice Sanjay Karol had to take the initiative of cleaning the heritage Shimla Kalka track with thousands of volunteers. So where is the authority/government whose job is to ensure cleanliness? ‘Talk big and do it only on paper’ has been their ‘mantra’. One waste processing plant till date, a little more than 50% achievement in Door to door garbage collection scheme, no firm steps on segregation of waste, no check on illegal muck dumping, says all about the government/authority approach in this matter.

Citizens in majority cherish proud moments talking ‘clean/Green’ on internet sites. Some step further and participate in cleanliness drives /plantation campaigns /etc. While most do it for selfies in social media only a few to be termed ’actual warriors’. The fellow citizens are perhaps so gripped in the competitive mindset due to growing population, that garbage/muck disposal is their least priority. “Need permission to dump muck while making a house? Go for permission and the file would make rounds for months. So instead of the fuss (governmental permissions) would find it convenient dumping it elsewhere illegally. Another one, it is a Sunday, no garbage collector today, so let’s throw garbage in open or burn it, is a common practice. With neither the awakening nor any threat of being fined citizens everyday are devising newer methods for polluting the surroundings unknowingly. Caught in the web even NGOs work on the upper layer being there for only bread and butter. How many cleanliness drives done by thousands of NGOs/groups/PSUs have been reported of being followed up on weekly/monthly basis? Only a few perhaps.

And then in a cohesive voice all crib, that not much is being done and ecology is changing. To only get back to the work of creating the muck/garbage again. Or else what could be the explanation for the increasing piles of garbage and choked nallas around us.

Lack of awareness and seriousness! Most awareness campaigns launched become a mere publicity tool for the politician and party. The latest in the list is the dustbin installation campaign for villages and Panchayats through the concerned Member of Parliament. The bins neat in outlook two in number carry a big name of the MP. Posses all features for praise except that no garbage is thrown in it and reason that the bins were installed but no plans were made to clean it on day to day basis. Another reason that most such sensitization campaigns are mis-timed. Like when the segregation bins were distributed among ULBs, no visible sensitization campaign was carried to support it. Later by the time the genuine need for sensitization was realized, the bins already had turned into water buckets in most households, thus failing the waste segregation efforts completely. Even government advertisements with big pictures of leaders and slogans eyeing votes rarely touch the actual objective.

The alarm of the changing ecology is sounding louder now. It is becoming evident year after year that together all treads the road of no return. Yet no wants to own up and the blame game continues. Political parties/ governments play it among themselves to shun away from the responsibility by keeping citizens guessing. Even masses like playing it with governments/political parties, to not even realize that by doing this all are becoming an equal moot in the plot of destruction and only positive action could change it for better.

Perhaps it is time for the awakening. An arising is required towards duty for Mother Nature. Citizen participation is a must to achieve objective. Together all can bring a change to even force authorities for creation of more visionary plans and their smooth implementation. As after walking together on the ideal road for decades from today shall the land become clean enough to be called ‘Land of Gods’ by the future generations, once again.

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