Trash and Litter in India – A socially accepted behavior threats the environment and surroundings
During a recent visit to north India, (after a long time, I might add) I noticed something obvious. May be I was comparing everything to living abroad. Anyhow, on my way back to America, I wrote this post during a stop-over – while waiting for my connecting flight in Amsterdam.
All around the globe, the world is taking a note of India’s economic growth. The country has made tremendous progress over the last 10-15 years. It is something to be proud of, to be very proud.
However, we must acknowledge, if there is any aspect in which India or Indians have not moved forward – or moved very sluggishly, – is in the field of environmental cleanliness and taking care of the surroundings.
By ‘surroundings cleanliness’, I mean caring about our neighborhood hygiene and upkeep beyond the doorsteps of our own home.
If you look around, trash and litter is everywhere. Nobody seems to care about the waste, and how we discard it. If anything, we add to the garbage that is already abundant in the open and is everywhere. Littering a plastic cup on the road-side, after we are finished using it, is the norm. No one realize anything wrong with it. Throwing our waste on the street, and right outside our own house is a part of our daily routine. That’s how we are, that’s what we think is normal. Having waste and garbage scattered around everywhere does not bother us. We are content within ourselves as long as our house is polished clean up to the front doorstep. When it comes to surroundings, that’s where our responsibilities seem to end; that’s where we tend to stop – our doorsteps.
We can be a rich nation, we can be a prosperous bunch, but we are not very environment friendly. If you look around, you can see this alarming behavior everywhere. You won’t have a problem in finding a well-dressed and educating person trashing an empty coke bottle in the middle of the street. You can easily find scores of students outside a rich private school throwing around papers as if that is their duty. We toss everything on the street, we throw our waste on the roadside. Everything we don’t need ends up in the open somewhere in our own neighborhood. That’s is a normal everyday behavior; that’s how everybody goes around their business. We don’t know any better. We don’t see it as an environmental problem because that’s how it always been, that’s what everybody does.
We are so good at so many things. For example, we are very prudent in keeping track of our financial health. We always know where or what direction we need to explore for our own greedy pocket. We are very good at counting rupees or dollars. However, we may be a bit too wrapped up in our own world. We are first in line to take advantage of anything that generates money, anything that shows profit. May be that’s why we are not so keen for our environmental and surroundings’ needs, because those trees in India don’t shed money. The point is – we have potential, we know our stuff; environment and surroundings are just not a part of our priorities.
Sooner or later we have to realize this problem. We need to change our mentality on how we treat our neighborhood and surroundings. Littering is socially accepted in India – nobody minds, no one cares. We can make all the progress, we can make all the economic strides alongside the rich nations, but we can only go so far if we are surrounded by the smelly dirt piles and garbage. Financial and economic breakthroughs are good. However, along the way, what we really need is a change in our mentality to care for our environment, to care for our own surroundings. And, we need to realize this at personal level, sooner than later.
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