I hope and pray that everyone is in good health in this never-before-experienced global crisis – an invisible enemy, silent, knowing no borders, no colour, no religion. In hard times like these, we see each other together, as a collective species. For are we really wise?
An evening here in Itanagar, I was returning from work. While driving back from Mowb-II, somewhere near Nitivihar I, saw a mithun with a calf with her. I am an admirer of this beautiful animal which has been roaming the pristine forests of ours with our ancestors since time immemorial. But it was sad to see the duo salvaging food from the dumpster along the highway – not that there was anything there to be salvaged as some other bovine or canine must have checked the place before.
What are there in the dumps that attract beasts of all sorts? Well, some idiot mixed wet garbage along with dry garbage in the bin, resulting in a feast for the beast, which mostly is fatal due to the ingestion of plastics and wastes of all sorts. I don’t know if any of you feel it, but I feel we are dumping ourselves with the garbage created by us. Just look around everywhere, you’ll find bits and pieces of plastics and papers everywhere. A person walking by tears up a packet of gutkha, mixes the tobacco and devours the whole, and then just throws the packet away; a child in the backseat of a car riding along with family after eating her ice-cream throws the packet out of the window of the running car. Likewise, you will see tons of waste along the way, everywhere, except for our own home or compound. Thank god we have rag pickers who help us clean our public places by picking up recyclable items from the mess we have made around us.
Ever wondered where all the waste will go? Who will collect it and how long will it take for the waste to disintegrate and decay? Our cities look beautiful from the outside, but within it we find tons of trash, be it the clogged up drains in all the colonies which are visible in monsoon causing flashfloods, the dead streams flowing with grey water and garbage. Check out any stream flowing within the twin cities, even around Doimukh or Midpu – you will be disgusted to see all sorts of garbage, as if the stream were IMC trucks – ‘Swachh Bharat ka iraada kar liya humnien’. If our streams and rivers within the city were clean, imagine the scenario – clean rivers flowing by within the city, with loads of fish and aquatic life unlike the now dead rivers with foul smell.
It’s very easy to complain about things not going right, whereas are you ready for the change yourself? It’s no surprise that we are witnessing a pandemic due to the greed and gluttony of humankind.
So, what can be done? Be sensible, it’s not okay to litter anywhere. Cultivate the habit of not littering. It’s a great health hazard to just throw away wastes in public places, be it a park, the roadside, rivers, or jungles. Whenever out on a trip, kindly don’t just throw away the bits and pieces of paper or plastics. Look for dustbins, or else wait till you see one. Yes, it’s that easy. At home, segregate your wastes. If possible collect your daily wet garbage, ie, waste from the kitchen (biodegradable waste) and use it for composting or food for other domesticated animals, while only disposing dry garbage onto the municipal trucks.
Be careful with wastes such as broken glass, blades, razors, syringes (medical waste to be disposed separately) and sanitary napkins, be it adult or child. Please wrap those items in thick paper, marked with a cross or something, so that the municipal workers may freely work. Major wastes are produced and can be easily seen along the highway in market places/vegetable and fish markets; such are the scene and the smell if for a shift the municipal waste collector truck doesn’t come.
The wastes from the vegetable markets may be collected separately for dairy farms or pigs or chickens. We may as well use the wastes from fish sellers and butchers for fishes or ducks or stray dogs. The dry wastes may be separately collected and segregated. Smart management of solid waste is the need of the hour. My suggestions are inspired by Mr C Srinivasan, known for the very successful and efficient waste management system – SLRM or the ‘Vellore model’.
As a resource person, he came for imparting training on solid waste management here in Arunachal a few years back (2016). His ideas were excellent, but unfortunately weren’t applied here. I am still hopeful we can do it together – ‘Clean and green Arunachal’.
Lastly, apply the three Rs in our life – reduce, reuse and recycle. Understand the importance of the chronology!