I have been bearing the pain of carrying waste in every possible form throughout my life. Having said this, I am not immune to the senseless actions of my creators and users around me. No one can see how many times I cry a day. You might wonder, what is this dumb thing is saying? I was born to collect rubbish, not speak rubbish. Let me explain.
People always throw waste of different forms without sorting it at the source. As a result, I end up carrying the waste every time to a nearby landfill or water body. These days, poor speechless animals are also dying by eating the food along with the plastic. The way everyone handles waste is extremely concerning to me and I can’t keep living with this practice. I am more aware than anyone of the pain and consequences of plastic waste ending up in our rivers, oceans, and landfills. I certainly think I am the prime reason behind all the waste ending up in these places, but I am helpless.
When I introspect, I realise the fact that waste generated today is from a single-stream, i.e. most of the people put all kinds of waste in a single bin. As a result, it’s challenging for the municipal bodies and NGOs who are working hard to collect, sort and recycle waste.
Why should someone else handle and sort your waste? Is it not your responsibility to collect them separately and hand them over? I am sure there is no denial of this question and should make everyone think about it. The day is near when the local municipality stops collecting waste, forcing everyone to handle their waste. It’s better to wake up and act now.
These days, I hear everyone talking about the circular economy, but enough attention needs to be given to segregation at source as it’s the key to all problems. One might counter me and say that segregation at source was a tough thing to do since the current ecosystem was not yet ready. I opine, if each one plays their part by sorting all the waste they generate and routing it through the right channel we will not see any trash on our roads, rivers, and households.
The informal recycling system is very vast, effective in our country and today you can find such shops everywhere. They do accept plastic items from all and it should be our responsibility to support the chain. Even the multi-layered plastics that are mostly used can be recycled.
One notable work I would like to mention here is Project Mumbai. Their award-winning initiative, Plastic Recyclothon, collects the plastic waste at your doorstep once in a month. I am sure one can think of several other good ways to act with their waste responsibly. As a sincere request:
- I ask everyone not to mix wet waste and dry waste and collect it separately.
- Sort out the dry waste as per categories — bottles, packaging materials, multi-layer plastics, etc. and hand it over to the recycler directly in your town.
- I also wish to see housing societies, schools, offices and individuals create composting sites in order to use the wet waste efficiently.
- Follow the signs mentioned on dustbins when you put anything inside.
Humans have done extraordinary things, like landing a satellite on an asteroid to collect samples and get it back to Earth, finding medicine for incurable diseases, etc. I am sure this problem is very tiny. I am and will always be faithful to the humans who created me and I want everyone to do their part by acting responsibly. Zero Waste Living is simple, cost-effective and fun.
If there’s anything, I wish for in my life that would be no less than supporting the circular economy and urging citizens to generate less waste. Sadly, I don’t have any holidays and have to go back to my job of collecting waste. Thank you for sparing your time.
I want to end with: Rethink your choices. Refuse single-use. Reduce consumption. Reuse everything. Refurbish old stuff. Repair before you replace. Repurpose and reinvent with your creativity. And Recycle.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Be a Bridge for Change — BBC and is published from a syndicated feed.)
Author: Mr. Hareesh Kodi, Supply Chain MT, Marico Ltd | MBA SJMSOM, IIT Bombay | Bosch Ltd | NITK Surathkal