It’s not hard to say that this decade has seen a sudden growth in plastic use. Despite constant efforts made by our Government, the citizens of our country don’t pay much heed to its policies. This plastic use had increased to such an extent that the government had to formulate waste management rules in 2016 so that illegal production of plastic and polythene is restricted and is only executed when the company has a government-issued license. Improvement has been made since then but the rate of awareness remains low. Despite knowing the drawbacks of using plastic bottles, bags, polythene, packages, people are not willing to change their habits. Because the degradation of the environment is not a rapid process that shows results within a day, people are inclined to believe that it doesn’t exist at all. We can see the impact of pollution and emission of greenhouse gases already with the increase in levels of water, snow melting at the poles, increased pollutants in the air, etc.
People in Asansol are entirely dependent on the Municipal Corporation for the collection of waste. It was not until recently that a concrete bin was made on an order issued by the ruling party of my Ward. At first, I considered it to be a pretty productive idea since there were many pre-existing issues related to waste collection in my community. The Municipality workers were not regular, to begin with. Sometimes they wouldn’t come for waste collection for weeks, let alone days. It appeared to help us on days like that. We could dump our waste inside the bin, and whenever they came they could easily collect it. That would have been better from disposing of garbage on the streets or barren lands posing threat to the quality of soil, giving rise to breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other insects and many such problems. Hardly a week later, I was shocked to see the condition of that bin. It was not only full but it overflowed with garbage. Wet and dry waste surrounded the bin from all sides, up to the streets making it hard for vehicles to pass and pedestrians to walk. And who was responsible for the mishap? Us. We need to educate ourselves more and practice what we preach. 7 out of 10 people fail to understand the graveness of the situation because they don’t see the threat it poses to our environment. But it’s happening! Maybe slowly, but it is. We need to make small changes in your everyday routine, if garbage in your locality is not collected, inform the people in power and make them aware of your problems and grievances. Don’t litter, don’t ask for plastic bags and polythene from local shops and vendors. It’s advisable to carry your jute or cotton bag for fetching groceries or fruits. Every little effort makes a difference. Remember, it starts with us.