What it will take to stop mixing waste?
Swachh Bharat is just not a campaign but is the way to walking on cleaner streets & scenic landscapes. We are cruising on the awareness & acceptance of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan all over. Yet, it takes those cynical eyes to gape open at overflowing bins with flies, dogs & foul order in some corner of your daily pathway.
Today, each one walking on the streets has come closer to the acceptance of not littering around or even comprehending the plastics ban. Yet, the importance of waste segregation has not been transcended beyond the conceptual sphere of geela kachra aur sukha kachra (wet waste & dry waste).
To see cleaner streets & scenic landscapes requires a paradigm shift at the awareness level of where one is littering & why! This would be steep uphill climb for a country which was smoothly functioning with littered garbage on roads. It would need the cascading impacts of mixing waste into one bin, to the masses that have just learnt to litter in the bin.
Cutting off the scientific jargon of compostable, biodegradable, non-biodegradable, hazardous, biomedical & e-waste we need to make it a simpler way of life to just segregate what we pick & throw. Something as simple as we pick our spoons or biscuits or veggies & put it in the right shelf!
Have you ever stored milk in your shoes? Have you ever kept fruit juice in the same container of basmati rice? Tried saving space by mixing shampoo & mayonnaise? Sounds as different as chalk & cheese? Or maybe while you read these questions you thought I was out of my mind! But that’s exactly what we do while we hand over our garbage bag or litter in the roadside bin. That’s exactly what produces the foul odour & stinky dirty roadside corner.
Every waste type has different way of handling. But once we have made the jumble of food, milk, shoes, plastic, rice, shampoo, etc., no one is ready to handle & this ensures that nothing can be handled.
If we are so finicky to put our milk in the fridge, our shoes in the rack, to sieve our basmati rice, to pack our mayonnaise in air tight jars, to have separate bottles for shampoos & conditioners….then when we pick our garbage why don’t we understand, to simply NOT MIX!