This Diwali, let us resolve to keep our land, water and air clean
Diwali is here and while the festival of lights will be celebrated with traditional gaiety throughout the country, the day after will inevitably result in mounts of garbage, which will need to be effectively disposed. Unfortunately, in most parts of the country, waste is dumped in the open and over time can become several stories high. Dehradun for instance generates more than 350 tonnes of waste daily and dumps it on Sahastradhara Road. During festivals, the quantity increases manifold. The city’s solid waste management project was approved under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission scheme in 2008. The project has missed several deadlines already although it is hoped that it will be operational soon.
However, projects and plants are not going to be adequate if waste continues to be generated at the current rate. A significant change has to come about at the individual and community level. Waste must be segregated at home and then handed over to authorized collectors. It is time we stop thinking of waste as someone else’s responsibility and instead become accountable for the waste that leaves our homes and commercial complexes.
The 4 R’s are taught to young minds in school and perhaps it is time for the entire citizenry to take a crash course. Recycle, Reuse, Reduce and Replace are the very basis of a cleaner, happier nation. Consumerism may have propelled business growth but it has also led us to buy more than we need, and hence the increase in waste.
The adoption of 4 R’s can drastically bring down the amount of waste that needs to be dealt with. Communities and neighborhoods can designate spots for composting of biodegradable waste. The compost can be used to organically fertilize neighborhood parks and green spaces.
Uttarakhand is a state of great natural beauty that is marred by the plastic waste that chokes its land and water bodies. By changing the way we look at waste, we can change the world around us.
Simple solutions such as opting for a cloth shopping bag in stead of plastic bags and adhering to rules laid down by the government can go a long way in restoring the state to its former green and clean glory. This Diwali, let us therefore respect the land, air and water that nature has given us abundantly and pledge to preserve it for generations to come.