Dinner was delicious. Tired and exhausted, you sleep and wake up in the morning with the trash you left on the table, in your mouth. You think you are hallucinating and let it slide and decide to move on with your day, you put your foot on the floor and step on shards of plastic. Suddenly, you feel a dystopian scare, like a scary movie except, it’s one of those documentaries where you were warned against the brutal use of resources and the inability to maintain it. You want to take a quick shower but the water pipe is clogged with foreign elements. You loathe all the things that get in your way and question about the world you were promised. You’re already getting tired of this but Human race is superior & you’re convinced it will find a way so you don’t have to live like some animal, until you realize this is exactly how animals live today.
We despise the garbage that is left unattended in-front of our houses & want it to be removed immediately even though a chunk of what’s lying out there has made its way from our own houses. According to a 2018 World Bank report, India generated 277.1 million tonnes annually, The topic of waste management has probably not been speculated as much as climate change or pollution as we are more focused on what we let out than what stays back which is, waste. The waste would generally mean anything that cannot be used anymore and holds no value whatsoever. Even though this definition would generalize the nature of waste all over the world, we might have been mistaken in determining what particular object is waste and what could be utilized for a period of time in such a way, for it to finally become waste.
Let’s think of all the times we felt embarrassed when our mothers would use an old clothe as a pocha (cloth to mop) or when we received sweet boxes that would be used later on storing something else. It strikes us now how childhood embarrassment actually equated full utilization. Although, it did not solve all the problems, it made items last longer than usual thereby reducing the need of purchasing something new adding to the 277.1 million figure. There is no time better than this to indicate that simply dumping away wrappers & other unusable materials in the dustbin after a picnic is not the endgame, pre-managing eatables and items to be used shall be the game changer. Almost every society has a common dumpster but hardly anyone thinks about segregation. A single container cannot hold oil and water at the same time, similarly, a dumpster with a broken toy and vegetable peels would have no meaning or in other words, “A waste of waste”. This makes assigning waste for its proper disposal or further utilization a must.
The initial phase of the Coronavirus pandemic had people fear the unavailability of items to use more than the virus resulting in excessive hoarding of eatables, items used in day to day life, basic electrical gadgets such as light bulbs, lamps etc. seemingly increasing the graph of municipal waste which includes kinds of composite waste (Milk cartons, Toys) to toxic and hazardous waste from all the medication and e-waste. Local shops and some houses had plastic wrapped their buildings like sandwiches to prevent the virus from getting in through any outward contact. The mass needs to be educated about developing scientific temper while confronting situations like these. Availability drives consumers hence a consumer cannot always be solely blamed for every action, Manufacturers must focus on producing and integrating more of eco-friendly products as a norm and setting standards while creating a market that can accommodate and promote sustainable and less toxic items. This shall prove the fact that even though responsibility is individual, it must be shared.
Startups, activists and some child prodigies have enthusiastically promoted the importance of having our waste recycled, and brought service to our doorstep. Public-Private partnerships are highly encouraged for effective driving through solutions and mitigating the daily effects of toxic waste not only coming from factories and offices but also households. Funds must be directed to encourage scientific research. To understand the nature of elements, their longevity and ways of maximum utilization. Large number of biodegradable products must be injected into the market and their benefits should be explained.
Our relationship with nature is a give and take, hence every single piece of waste we dump, we get it back. We get it back through imbalances in biodiversity, species extinction, reduction of quality of air and water and being more prone to diseases. This is why it is important to question everything, research and look for alternatives. There should be more composting instead of compiling. We need to be very decisive about what we purchase as it directly affects what we throw. The idea of eating a full meal on a plastic wrap might appear very bizarre but is unknowingly occurring as we are yet to comprehend the dangers of packaging of snacks and sweets along with harmful preservatives in low quality and extremely toxic material and sense the urgency about this matter before this blanket of waste we are buoyed up in, devours us.