Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Environmental Pollution in India - You Said it, Sean Paul Kelly!

I happened to read this piece written by Sean Paul Kelly, an American after visiting India. I must say I agree with him one-hundred percent, especially where he talks about the pollution in India. This was the same message I tried to convey when I wrote this blog post and now Paul being a better writer than me, has put across the same message in a bold and forceful manner.
Here is what he has to write about pollution in India after travelling through the length and breadth of India by train and road (emphasis added). 
First, pollution. In my opinion the filth, squalor and all around pollution indicates a marked lack of respect for India by Indians. I don’t know how cultural the filth is, but it’s really beyond anything I have ever encountered. At times the smells, trash, refuse and excrement are like a garbage dump. Right next door to the Taj Mahal was a pile of trash that smelled so bad, was so foul as to almost ruin the entire Taj experience. Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai to a lesser degree were so very polluted as to make me physically ill. Sinus infections, ear infection, bowels churning was an all to common experience in India. Dung, be it goat, cow or human fecal matter was common on the streets. In major tourist areas filth was everywhere, littering the sidewalks, the roadways, you name it. Toilets in the middle of the road, men urinating and defecating anywhere, in broad daylight. Whole villages are plastic bag wastelands. Roadsides are choked by it. Air quality that can hardly be called quality.Far too much coal and far to few unleaded vehicles on the road. The measure should be how dangerous the air is for one’s health, not how good it is. People casually throw trash in the streets, on the roads. The only two cities that could be considered sanitary in my journey were Trivandrum–the capital of Kerala–and Calicut. I don’t know why this is. But I can assure you that at some point this pollution will cut into India’s productivity, if it already hasn’t. The pollution will hobble India’s growth path, if that indeed is what the country wants. (Which I personally doubt, as India is far too conservative a country, in the small ‘c’ sense).
He concluded his essay this way (emphasis added) 
I could go on for quite some time about my perception of India and its problems, but in all seriousness, I don’t think anyone in India really cares. And that, to me, is the biggest problem. India is too conservative a society to want to change in any way. Mumbai, India’s financial capital is about as filthy, polluted and poor as the worst city imaginable in Vietnam, or Indonesia–and being more polluted than Medan, in Sumatra is no easy task. The biggest rats I have ever seen were in Medan!
 “I don’t think anyone in India really cares. And that, to me, is the biggest problem.”- is a very powerful statement that I fully endorse as far as environmental pollution is concerned. When ever I make a conversation about the pollution we are causing to the environment, to people, I know in India invariably the discussion gets into the government not doing anything. However much I try to convince them that each one of us has to change to make this happen it never goes into their mind. Having lived in US, I know the extra effort the people there make to keep the environment around them clean. Yes of course government has a role to play in reducing the pollution but it is up to each individual to change their own mentality and accept the fact that “WE CARE FOR OUR ENVIRONMENT AND INDIA” through deeds and not by words.
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Blogger keralafarmer said...

"Trivandrum–the capital of Kerala–and Calicut. I don’t know why this is."
I wonder how it happened? He didn't saw Parvathiputhanar, Thiruvalla, Vilappilsala treatment Plant. Every body knows about polution, but who cares. Maximum residents trying to clean their houses and yard by collecting all types of wastes and throwing it outside any ware nobody saw him throwing it. Yesterday I saw an article in Mathrubhumi Daily about Dr. Subhash about his agricultural management including recharging well water. How many of us can follow it? We will shout against the price hike of vegetables, rice, wheat, egg etc.How many of us can produce 1250 grams of agricultural produces to eat for each individual.
Conclusion: If human loves Agriculture, then the problem will be solved for ever.

August 18, 2010 1:31 AM  
Blogger Pallavi said...

Aptly put. Garbage and filth is not an unsolvable problem.Its a basic attitude issue. Somehow, spritualizing it and giving it arbit India's giant soft power image does not cut it either.

August 18, 2010 5:41 AM  
Anonymous k..p.. said...

You are right when you say that it is for individuals to contribute if we were to reduce pollution etc. But people do not change their habits unless they have some incentive to do so, or they feel strongly about it. Who will do that? Government? Forget that.
So, what next? Who do we look up to?

August 18, 2010 2:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarath. said...

@ k..p... Most of the young generation in India 'look up' to the west when it comes to everything else in life...whether its fashion, movies, tech-gadgets, cars, design (I passed the much publicized Delhi T3 couple of weeks ago..and I couldn't find anything Indian about the whole airport when it comes to the architecture, shops etc).

So why can't we look up to the west when it comes to cleanliness ? Even Indians in u.s or europe take that extra effort to distinguish trash between recycle and non-recycle and dispose accordingly.

August 18, 2010 6:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is actually a good post. Can you somehow get the Facebook 'like' button here?


August 26, 2010 12:36 AM  
Blogger s#y@m said...

<"The only two cities that could be considered sanitary in my journey were Trivandrum–the capital of Kerala–and Calicut. I don’t know why this is.">

I also dont know why this is. Why he said so. May be other sates are worse. I haven't visited any of them recently.

October 25, 2010 5:38 AM  

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