Environment Awareness

I had the fortune of visiting some of the beaches of the Mediterranean. The water is so clear that one can count his toenails while swimming. As compared to that in Mumbai, the sea water is so polluted that it could be easily labeled as a Bio-Hazard zone.

Yet whenever we talk about pollution India and China always shift the blame to the western world. They claim that the developed world produce majority of the greenhouse gasses. The per-capita quantity of waste and pollutants generated by a citizen in American or Europe far exceeds that produced in the developing world. However the paradox is that still the environment is far more polluted in India than outside.

There can be only 2 possible reasons that seem viable to me. Firstly because of lack of proper handling and recycling facilities the same quantity of effluents, sewage and solid waste generated in a developed nation ends up being much more toxic than it is in the developing world.

Secondly there is lack of awareness. I was amazed that in South Korea, when I accidently thrashed a plastic cup in the wrong waste bin, my Korean friend actually went inside the garbage to retrieve it. I don’t think I can see the same kind of dedication in any of my Indian friend. While it is natural to see people segregating their waste into proper bins so that they could be recycled, in India expecting that people use the dustbins is too much to ask. Net result is that even if in Indian street we produce only 1 plastic bag as waste, it will eventually end up inside one of the drain pipes, clog it and create a mess. While in Spain sea surfers don’t even use a soap/shower gel while taking the shower on the seaside, lest that will pollute the sea.

17 replies on “Environment Awareness”

Couple this with the fact that even if the per capita waste production by developing nations is lesser, the population is much higher and so is the population density. So the result is that there are more number of people producing waste in a given area…ergo much higher levels of pollution.
And of course, the waste management system in India is a sham, that goes without saying.

this debate will go on
Dont we also recycle their waste ??
what about alang etc ?
But yes rural or urban we lack civic environment and recycling sense
When i was in germany they had 4 bins and it was a constant battle to get the right bin for the waste, for the first few days.
I was amazed by their environ sensibilities, their fitness consciousness and the peoples usage of cycles .. even oldies above 50 yrs

We didnt have plastic culture like in eu and japan where every vegi and fruit is plastic wrapped, but slowly it is catching up as demand for aping west is strong.
we get paid for our raddi , the germans have to pay to dump theirs.
there is a lot of manpower recycling stuff, but highly unorganized and inefficient, and as our city s grow that too with the density of population our levels of waste will increase, and we will face bigger problems including landfills dumps etc

@prax and satish…
we are trying to give E-Nagar a new look and are experimenting with the features… give us some more time (and a lot of feedback) so that we can improve this site.

yes the nature of the waste is very different between cities and villages.. or between 2 countries. however while the west is now concentrating on providing environmentlly friendly packaging, the trend in India is other way round.

I have two comments to make. Firstly, Mumbai is not India. There are many beaches in India that are spartan, and I have had the opportunity to enjoy them. Palolem beach ,about 60 km south of Goa is one example,while the beaches on Andaman and Nicobar are another.But they will not remain so for long.Secondly,I am quite in agreement with your point about our involvement in keeping the environment clean. But it is more to do with our laws. The same Indians who throw litter here become such responsible citizens in foreign countries where the laws are strict. What we need is a danda-military style, and nothing else.

@Rajesh: I agree to your point in principle…but I know every time I wish for a military style in India, esp in politics, I know that I will be the first one to grudge against it upon implementation. That’s because when we make such a wishful thought, we forget that it will apply to us too.
The same careless culture is so deeply embedded in us that we are equally responsible for the current situation and it is difficult to change. Its old dog and new tricks…

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