One must remember that a host of problems stem from littering, and as a result of some people’s inability to control this habit, the environment has been suffering. Heaps of garbage, mainly plastic waste, are dumped on the road in many residential areas and are not removed for many weeks. According to BMC, Mumbai generates approximately 8,600 metric tonnes (MT) of municipal solid waste every day. Some estimates it closer to 10,000 MT, others at far less. Waste from across the city is taken in trucks to the Deonar — which has been in use for over 90 years — and two other dumps, at Mulund and Kanjurmarg. The Swachh Bharat programme of the Centre has focused too narrowly on individual action to keep streets clean, without concurrent pressure on State and municipal authorities to move closer to scientific management and arrest the spread of pollution from trash.
It is clear that vendors would dispose of the waste wherever they set up business. In the absence of bins, residents also dump the waste on roads as dogs and cattle squatter upon the waste and also consume it. Garbage can be hazardous to one’s own health as well. When a large amount of garbage is found in a particular environment, it reflects badly on the people who live there. Pedestrians drop garbage in the streets. It is observed that Motorists throw their trash out of their windows. Despite High Court orders on various issues relating to garbage handling, very little has been done by the local bodies in handling solid waste management.
BMC trailers, when not properly covered, can also have some of their load blown away by the wind. Some households dispose of their garbage improperly and irresponsibly. People must remember that garbage is much more serious problem than some think it is, not just environmental but also an economic problem too because countries spend huge sums of money to clean and remove litter out of our environment. Heaps of garbage and instances of people defecating on road goes against the spirit of decency. With the mounds of heaps of garbage remaining uncleared for weeks together emanating a nauseating stench all over, the areas are stinking. With heaps of garbage lying around, the dog menace has also increased. The mosquito menace has gone beyond the reasonable tolerance levels. Owing to the indifference of the concerned authorities are exposed to dangerous diseases like dengue fever, malaria, hepatitis, dysentery and typhoid. We generate a lot of garbage, and it all goes into landfills, which isn’t the best solution.
Garbage heaps in several parts of the city has become a cause of concern for residents and the ugly face of the city. Let us take a pride in our environment. Long-ingrained behaviours and mindsets need to be changed, there are logistics and space issues and, almost overnight, people need to learn about composting and how to deal with non-biodegradable materials.
Don’t be afraid to confront those that are messing it up. If we all adhere, maybe the message will help us in making Mumbai ‘Model Mega city”.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)