There are many awareness campaigns around us on waste management and waste segregation, because our cities seem to be bursting with all sorts of jumbled and unnecessary waste. Alert persons could have segregated it, composted off the wet waste, done appropriate recycling of dry waste to the extent possible, and many concerned citizens and activists are busy explaining which sort of waste should go in which dustbin.
Segregating waste means being aware of the consequences of piled up mixed waste. It assumes a basic degree of civic sense and concern for fellow human beings, and a sense of responsibility and willingness to work.
Me, I think we still haven’t got to step 1, that is, making people assume the responsibility of disposing waste properly. I’m talking of littering. I’ve seen people throw wrappers out of cars and buses, I’ve seen them throw plates of prasadam in front of temples, I’ve seen them throw garbage right outside their own doors (where they also light lamps to greet the Goddess of Wealth). And if someone has thrown something on a road, that becomes a magnet for others to add their contributions to that pile 🙁 Even signs that say, don’t throw garbage here seem to attract garbage.
And scenic places, and places considered tourist landmarks and/ or religious are not immune either. In fact, they probably gather more litter because more people visit them and eat at the food stalls near them and then discard the plates and packets and whatnots. Here’s the famed Hussain Sagar lake of Hyderabad, and the litter near it.
What I wonder is, if most people are not even bothered to put obvious waste (wrappers, leftover food, crumpled ATM slips) in a dustbin, how committed will they be about sorting out waste into separate categories?