The need to be a “garbage-free” country!

Deonar dumping ground in Mumbai

Have you ever had a sight of the massive dumping grounds in big cities like Mumbai and Delhi, and ever wondered where would all these mountains of garbage be disposed later? Unfortunately, we do not have an answer for that.

India, being one of the fastest economically growing countries, has been ignorant of its own stinky situation. No matter how much we Indians boast about ourselves being able to provide the largest number of engineers and doctors to the world, we have failed as a nation if we continue staying in a state of constant denial of this serious issue. This issue is on the boil, only to know that we have blindfolded ourselves.

Our unique-cultured country has a population of almost 1.3 billion. And about 70 percent of the population lives in rural areas which do not have proper government facilities. India creates a huge amount of more than 62 million tons of garbage every year. Our roadsides, public places, beaches and every possible space is garnished with plastic bags, litter and filth. This filth leads to the breeding of mosquitos, rats and other pests, and is the main reason for India being well-known in the world for diseases like malaria and dengue. Therefore to save India from becoming a huge dumping ground and to stop our tourists from complaining about malaria and the stinky smells, a kind of awareness needs to be maintained, not only with the governance but also among the local public.

Under the Swachh Bharat initiative, all major cities were directed to implement a comprehensive waste-energy program based on recycling and energy-producing techniques. But as it turns out, their performances are not effectively monitored and taken care of. The garbage dumps also include wastes, rubber, plastic, chemicals and other petroleum products, which lead to a massive increase in the air pollution index once they are burnt. Due to a fire in the dumping ground of Deonar in Mumbai in 2016, methane was introduced into the air in heavy amounts.

Social issues like these in the world cannot be solved without the support and cooperation of the local public. We as citizens of India need to be aware of the serious garbage issue in the country. Doing as little as segregating the household wastes among e-wastes, organics, plastics and paper, would also make a difference to this burning issue. These responsibilities are not the responsibilities of a particular person; it needs to be taken up by every aware individual. Using paper bags which are biodegradable works a lot better than using plastic bags and throwing them on the roadside once used. Plastic bags have been the main culprit of this problem in India. We can hardly find a public place in India where plastic bags are not thrown away on the ground by the commuters. Even our scenic beaches and our holy rivers like Ganga and Yamuna are not spared, indirectly affecting our precious marine life.

There have been initiatives by different environmental NGOs towards cleanliness which call upon a lot of volunteers who strive to have a positive impact on our country. Awareness programs and clean-up movements like these, along with effective actions taken by the government is the only way possible to prevent our country from getting drowned in the garbage.

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