World Environment Day: Why can't the change begin with us?


  • World Environment Day: Why can't the change begin with us?
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When I was young and naïve, I used to mindlessly throw plastic wrappers, tetra packs, on roads and outside the running local, acting dumb. I remember, there were gutters in my lanes which used to flow with lots of plastic wrappers, papers and what not. That sight never bothered me, why? because I was insensitive.

A few years later, I started going to college for which I used to commute on the train from Dombivali to Matunga. Those who don't know, when the train passes Mumbra station, one can see a creek called as Desai creek. Sadly, it is subjected to pollution every now and then because there is this ritual of throwing flowers waste directly into the creek.

I am sure you must be curious to know how exactly commuters pollute the creek. So, a particular commuter comes to a door, and if they can't for some reason, then they hand out their plastic bags which contains flowers waste, to a person who is standing near the door. Well, while doing so, the person whose plastic bag is, folds his/ her? hands and remembers god. I don't get this. Does God tell us to discard flower waste in the creek? Hell, no

Well, people not only throw flowers waste but they also throw photo frames of idols. This is insane. It doesn't reach out to God but it gets stuck somewhere and creates a hindrance for a water to flow. It might also affect marine life. Let's not forget plastic.

I reasoned with one such lady who threw plastic bag with flowers waste. So, she gave me a dirty look and said,

Are you crazy? Bhagwan ke phool hain woh, aise kaise kahi bhi daal de. Pani mein hi daalna chahiye na? (I cannot discard flowers waste anywhere I feel like, it is holy thing and should be discarded in a right manner).

I spoke to one my friend Satyajit Shah who happens to be an activist as well. He happened to click one photo which summarizes my say. 

(Picture Credit - Satyajit Shah)

He clicked this photo in Thane, which is also known as lake city. I told him about the Mumbra incident, then he told me that, gurujis or priest ask people to do the same. Along with this, there is this understanding that whatever is related to God should be done in a particular way. One can easily make fertilisers out of used flowers which we offer to God. And God will not be disappointed with the act.

I don't remember exactly when I realised that littering in public places is wrong, but its never too late. Since then, I see to it that I don't let any of my fellow commuter throw plastic bags, wrappers or anything related outside running locals or under the seat. When I started doing this, I used to give a lecture to commuters on why they should not litter in trains. But, later I realised that it was a waste of time. Eventually, without saying a word, I started prohibiting my fellow commuters from throwing waste. And now it works like wonders. Yet, there are commuters who still think that it is OK to throw plastic bags or plastic wraps on the platform, under the seat, and outside the running local train i.e. on tracks. People don't hesitate to throw plastic bottles as well when they can simply crush it and discard it in dustbins.

Well, not only adults, but children do the same. See, here parents come in the picture or their teachers or any adult who will make them understand that it is not okay to throw plastic outside or under the seat or on roads. One change will do a lot for the environment. Just be the change.

I think those who enjoy littering in public places should try and do the same at their residences. Imagine, you seating in your living room surrounded by plastic bags and wrappers. How will you feel? I am sure you will not enjoy the view, likewise, think of our public places as our second home and STOP littering.

On World Environment Day, take the opportunity and reform your acts towards our beloved nature and mother earth by simply not littering, throwing plastic bags and wrappers in dustbins and asking our fellow commuters and colleagues to do the same.

So, ask yourself today, when was the last time, you threw plastic wraps or non-biodegradable things harming the environment? If the answer is, today, then change the attitude and start discarding the plastic bags in a right manner.

It doesn't take much. You just have to keep that lays or kurkure packet in your bag and after reaching home, discard it in your dustbins. It is as simple as finishing a bag of chips.

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