Published 21 August 2007
Blogs & Blogging , Environment , India , Politics & Policy , Service
Tags: Desicritics, disposal, ecology, Environment, environmentalism, filth, garbage, India, Indian bureaucracy, Indian Railways, Institute of Civil Engineers, Lalu Prasad Yadav, litter, poison, pullution, ragpicking, railroad, recycling, rubbish, sanitation, solid waste, toilet, toxic, toxins, train, train tracks, trains, trash
Much of what I write on this bog is frivolous — but some of it is quite serious. And sometimes — just sometimes — things reach the proper audience.
I received encouraging news today from Aaman Lamba, publisher of the wonderful forum Desicritics, that my essay on the huge garbage problem on Indian Railways was been posted on the online discussion forum of Indian Railways Institute of Civil Engineers. (I had cross-posted the piece on Desicritics, which was where it was picked up.) Who knows if this will generate any real attention, much less action. Typical of Indian engineers, there has been much buzz about triviality and process (in this case, how to resize my photos), and no substantive commentary as of yet. But the fact that someone noticed and posted the essay is a good start.
Continue reading ‘Indian Railways Institute of Civil Engineers Takes Notice of “Trash on the Tracks”’
Published 18 March 2007
Environment , India
Tags: biodegradable, Cafe Coffee Day, coffee, conservation, corporate policy, disposable, Environment, environmentalism, garbage, India, plastic, plastic cup, plastic lid, recycling, resource management, rubbish, single-use, solid waste, straw, trash, vegan
One of our guilty pleasures in India is the delicious vegan shake made by Café Coffee Day – even when we are not traveling with John, who eats based on principles of compassion which rule out dairy products. Iced espresso mixed with sweetened soy cream yields an irresistibly thick, frosty, dessert-drink.
Continue reading ‘A Lot of Environmental Thoughtlessness Can Happen over Coffee’
Published 2 January 2007
Environment , India
Tags: , ecology, Environment, environmentalism, filth, garbage, India, Indian bureaucracy, Indian Railways, Lalu Prasad Yadav, litter, poison, pullution, ragpicking, railroad, recycling, rubbish, sanitation, solid waste, toilet, toxic, toxins, train, train tracks, trash
A few years ago, I was riding in open-seating on a short-haul train between major metros. The precise place doesn’t much matter; this scene could have played itself out anywhere. I was by the window, and in the window seat across from me sat an obviously affluent, middle-aged woman. She was snacking incessantly throughout the journey. As she finished each morsel, she would casually toss its plastic bag or wrapper out the open window. When she purchased a cup of chai from the passing chai-wallah, it was a safe bet that the plastic cup would also be headed out the window.
It was more than I could stand; and though it was not premeditated, when she aimed the cup out the window, I instinctively reached out and caught it, scalding my hand with the remains of the chai in the process. The woman was shocked and angry, and lashed out at me. What the hell was I doing? She was simply disposing of trash!
Continue reading ‘Trash on the Tracks’
Published 16 December 2006
Blogs & Blogging , Environment , India , Service
Tags: Amritsar, beautiful India, compost, composting, DDT, Deepak Chopra, diarrhea, disease, ecology, Environment, environmentalism, feces, garbage, hepatitis, human waste, Lahore, litter, littering, mosquito, pests, plague, pollution, Pondicherry, public hygiene, rag-picker, rag-picking, recycle, recycling, rodent, rubbish, San Francisco, sanitation, shit, Shuddham, solid waste, Surat, toilet trenches, trash, typhoid, urban sanitation, WHO, World Health Organization
Fred Hsu, who has just returned to the states from India, raises an interesting issue on his blog today, when he wonders whether India will be able to “retain its rich culture” in the face of the sea of filth that its people wade through each day. It seems to me the Indian waste problem is as much a function of culture as an enemy of it.
The sad fact is: the overwhelming (OVERWHELMING!) majority of Indians are habituated to garbage in the streets, in parks — in any place that is not their private domain. No one seems to mind walking through it, and certainly none seem to give a second thought to contibuting to it. Littering is an activity as common and casual as drawing breath. There is an absolute disconnect here between compulsive personal hygiene and the utter lack of public hygiene. When Deepak Chopra declaims that, despite its rich, visible, and celebrated history, “India is not a spiritual country,” I think of this discrepancy as Exhibit A.
Continue reading ‘Garbage. Shit!’