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Hope for a better city

Written by Aditi Raj

What started as an interest in having a cleaner lane and a cleaner neighborhood has become an obsession with garbage. Haha. Garbage, which we barely think about, is tied strongly to a greener future.

On the road in Madras where I stay, inspired by eco-warrior neighbors, I learned how not separating our garbage leads to pollution. No more do I throw any piece of garbage into the bin without thinking which bin it should go into first.

My adventure/obsession with separating garbage began when I joined a group of volunteers on my road. We all went around to an assigned group of luxurious homes and flats in our money-rich neighborhood. We tirelessly told people to separate their waste. We urged them to recycle and to compost food waste. To not use plastic. It is a lot of information to understand all at once in a country where we sadly do not teach these things in school. But amazingly, awareness is growing.

I see hope in bright young kids who say that they are learning about garbage segregation in school from a young age. Hope may be present for our city. For it to grow into a cleaner city with no garbage littered on the roads at all. When I see many events focused on sustainable living happening in Madras, I feel some pride. Yes, a band of eco-warriors and awesome NGOs like ‘ Namma Ooru Foundation’ are doing some amazing work. They are organising events to raise awareness about the environment. They are spreading a message that is much needed. The message that a future with clean air and clean water depends on us.

Speaking of water, it is heartbreaking that our city has no water at all today. The rains have chosen to abandon us for long months. But why complain to the rain Gods? As my clever beautician said, the lack of water is partly because we are polluting rivers and lakes and the air and nature in its entirety. So it is high time that WE ourselves change the way we live. It is too late to worry about how we littered on the roads yesterday, but it is not too late to change our habits.

So I hope to see more friends interested in buying the water-saving nozzle that an eco-conscious young man called Roshan sells. This clever product saves me over 50 liters of water per month from my tap. We all need to recycle our sewage water for our gardens or we may not even be able to have gardens tomorrow. If the water scarcity goes on. Imagine our city continuing like today, with slum dwellers fighting over water.

I did not mean to sound so pessimistic. We are growing in awareness each month. The plastic ban is just the beginning of a long journey that our city must make towards becoming greener. Greener is cleaner. It is what we all want. But we all need to do our bit for that. The time for action is here.

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