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Friday, November 23, 2012


Our country's open belly is no less pernicious than its sordid underbelly which has a proven record of being dangerous and sinister. I am not talking about some mysterious bogey, but something which has been clearly recognized as a single most important cause of various epidemics and overall unhygienic surroundings, which has marred the beauty of our hills, towns, cities and villages, and yet it has been sidelined as if it does not exist. Yes, I am referring to the long standing, unheeded, serious issue of ever rising mounds of garbage seen everywhere in India without exception.
We have copied successfully so much from the west, yet incorporating even elementary garbage disposal techniques, on which depends the health of multitudes of Indians, have not been attempted committedly. The scourge, however, has stared us in the face all along. It won’t be gainsaying to say in the prevailing circumstances, that the whole country has turned more or less into a mammoth garbage dump.
The other day a TV channel covered the deplorable state of affairs in Bangalore, our IT hub, where heaps of stinking litter in residential areas has made the life of citizens unbearable. Even in other cities, the accumulation of garbage has reached alarming proportions. The pity is that there are no systematic plans put in place to tackle the curse.
A few days back I traveled by train from Patiala to Amritsar and back. It was appalling to see tons of garbage strewn along the tracks by the public residing in nearby colonies. The filth on the tracks has remained an unresolved issue for ever. Apart from govt. inaction,, there is gross lack of responsibility and discipline on the part of the milling population of our country.
The hospitals are reported to dispose off their waste outside their premises where rag pickers retrieve used syringes etc. which can go into wrong hands with fatal consequences. Need I mention, the swarms of flies and mosquitoes which thrive on these dumps and spread infections among people who pass by them? Imagine the burden of treating avoidable sicknesses on our already inadequate health services. When’ll there be some sort of accountability for these unethical practices, which are rampant in our country?
The industry effluents and shanty towns which have mushroomed on the banks of rivers have polluted our major rivers and left them unfit for human use and for the survival of under water organisms. Our sacred river Ganga is unrecognizable. Our recklessness and thoughtlessness has slighted its pious status.
While going from Patiala to Solan,  the one thing which greets the visitors on the way, is hordes of stray cattle, stray dogs and armies of monkeys, feeding on the littered waste on the roadsides. The scenario apart from being disgusting poses a grave danger to moving vehicles. Another eyesore on hills is mountain flanks being targeted as refuse disposal sites by all and sundry. One can imagine the loss to the tourism industry by this malady which tarnishes the image of a country.
Domestic refuse thrown haphazardly by people living in areas in close proximity to airports is a cause for concern. It was reported the other day in the newspaper that a stray dog was sighted on the tarmac of an airport in Punjab. Obviously he must have strayed there after feeding at a nearby waste dump.
Public awareness is a must. Educating the general public about their duties towards society and creating awareness about the ill effects of littering of the household trash are steps in the right direction.
There are far reaching consequences of this so far neglected crisis.The question arises, why is there this deep rooted apathy towards the deplorable state of affairs? Waste management requires serious mulling over.
The ambiguity- why the administrators at the highest level are shy of adopting measures which governments in the west and some European countries have adopted to solve this menace permanently? Why can’t we implement technically sound systems for perfect disposal of the waste materials, which are generated in tons with the changing mores of our society?
It is a solvable problem. But, what is required is the commitment and will on the part of authorities. The half hearted approaches so far have yielded no practicable solutions.

Your comments are welcome.

Images: courtesy Internet


  1. Uppalji, a burning problem indeed.
    When will the populaton learn? when will the children be taught right form childhood it is a sin to litter? when will we teach youth not to use and scatter plastic? Oh when.. and how?

    So long the administrators's houses and politicians' houses are kept clean by their sub staff, why will they look outside their AC cars or First Class flight windows?

    We are a spoiled country deserving the filth.

  2. Hi Pattu,
    Thanks! I feel enraged whenever i pass by piles of refuse scattered indiscriminately here and there.The concerned authorities must give serious attention to it forthwith. The image of our country is at stake.

  3. I endorse all that you have stated and pray that civic sense is inculcated at the earliest!

  4. Thanks Deepak ji,
    The concerned authorities need to source the know how to manage this gigantic task.The western countries have found permanent solution to the problem. Why can't we put in place those systems?

  5. The issues of Waste Management is there for a long and I believe it will be wrong to Blame the Administration completely,We as the citizen hold more responsibility towards Society..Our Civic Sense is like it never want to grow..Most of the citizen will litter here and there,even if there is a Dustbin we don't bother using it..We will Spit,Urinate wherever we want and after creating all the mess we except Administration to sort out things....In India Administration doesn't work because we as citizen are not responsible towards our Duties and Society..So,Why the Administration would bother..

  6. Thanks a lot! Oh yes, the public at large is equally to blame. Public awareness and responsibility is a must.

    But we pay taxes and expect the authorities to provide infrastructure and doable measures for proper garbage disposable mechanism. The Civic authorities have been dithering all along.

    However for our poor and the deprived, managing two meals a day for survival is an issue which subsumes all others. The administration has to do the needful.