Time to Get Responsible!

June 27, 2015

Ten-year-old Siddarth was appalled by the amount of empty Lays and Kurkure packets he collected in the garbage bag along the Charmudi Ghats for a mere 100 meters distance. He was justly furious at the people for dumping garbage and polluting the beautiful Western Ghats. He was almost on the verge of giving up one of his beloved snack.

It was Sunday, May 24th 2015. Eleven of us from YHA (Youth Hostels Association) Mangaluru assembled near ‘Malaya Marutha’ among Charmudi Ghats. YHA and a few other organizations had joined hands for the 'Paschima Ghatta Swachata Abhiyana' (Western Ghats Cleaning movement). The crux was due to the pollution among the Western Ghats all the small rivers and springs that flow among them are also getting polluted. They later join the ‘Netravati’, thus polluting the river. Netavati is the lifeline of the coastal region. It was a humble attempt to clear plastic (which is not biodegradable and dangerous) before rains start and all the waste gets washed away polluting the river.

Sixty people from parts of Dakshina Kannada and Bengaluru were present for this cause. Teams of 15 were formed. Each team had around 6 km to clean up. The eleven of us from YHA joined with a team from Bengaluru and started from the Malaya Marutha Guest house.

We started collecting the plastics along the roads. It was unbelievable, within mere 100 meters 4 big gunny bags were filled up with littered garbage. Plastic pet bottles, juice bottles, empty Lays and Kurkure packets, biscuit packets, empty sachet of gutka, supari, Center Fresh and Orbit. Not to forget the empty beer and vodka bottles. We spent around six hours and collected more than 15 big bags full of garbage and we could not even remotely claim it was a complete clean up.

There were a few viewpoints along the way. The viewpoints no doubt offered a great view but also acted as dumping grounds. Many people stopped to take pictures. Some people even had small picnics at these spots. And they did not bother about keeping the place intact for their next visit. They enjoyed the picnic, chucked the waste and walked away. Surprising thing is there is not a single garbage bin in these places. Why provide a stopover when there is no infrastructure to support the consequence?

Tourists travelling by cars have increased and so has the dumping. The most shocking part is, nearly 90% of the people travelling by private and hired vehicles are educated illiterates. People at least could develop the courtesy to collect the garbage they get with them and dispose them in the next city where there is a system to collect the garbage. Can’t they at least reason that there is no one to take care of the junk that’s left back in the forest? Do they expect their mothers to clean up behind them? Well that’s not gonna happen. It’s high time we stop ignoring and start being responsible. I am not trying to debate about taking any big steps or challenging the organizations or blaming the governments.

Let’s start with simple small things. Stop taking things for granted and thinking it’s okay to throw the garbage. Just because others do it we don’t have to do the same. Start acting on it. If you can’t avoid using plastic, avoid throwing them in forests and water bodies. At least, develop this much courtesy towards the nature. Come on, we owe so much to mother earth.

By Lakshmi Poola
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Comment on this article

  • Allen Pinto, Mangalore

    Thu, Jul 02 2015

    Lydia nice gesture!!!Start today, someday will never come. Make it a point that next sunday you call your 10 friends and start cleaning 500 meters of road. I will also join.

  • Sundari Ashoknagar, Mangalore

    Sun, Jun 28 2015

    When you go for a picnic bagful of eatables, whether kurkure or chips, soft drinks or hard drinks, bring the empty bottles, cans sachets,packets back home and dispose of. You should discipline yourself first. Others at home will follow.

  • jimmy noronha, Bellore, Lucknow

    Sun, Jun 28 2015

    While the task that you have taken up is highly commendable, it is simply not possible to achieve to clean our environment until and unless men that speak so loud on public platforms also remember to put in place what they proclaim. Just loud mouthing to placate the audience will never take us anywhere it is ultimately people such as you who have to come to do what best could be achieved. I really appreciate what you have been doing walking 6 Kms on a hilly terrain picking garbage is really a back breaking ordeal indeed.

  • Lydia Lobo, Kadri

    Sat, Jun 27 2015

    How many of you believe that I carry a shopping bag in my purse whenever I leave the house ? Regular shops that I go to purchase, do know this and they give my order packed in paper bags directly into my hand. By-chance its a new shop, the shopkeeper obviously gets shocked when I refuse a plastic bag and offer to take things in my own bag. They say my gesture is extremely rare and unexpected in this age.

    This is just one gesture we can do to save our environment. The more plastic (or any non-biodegradable products) we accept, equally more is our responsibility in finding ways to terminate its existence. Therefore, foremost step we must take is reduce using common use plastic. I can't say stop using it completely because we have already enslaved ourselves to plastic. Even the key board that I am using right now is made of plastic.

    I commend the steps taken by YHA representatives and participants of this movement. I look forward to join you guys someday or in someway in the future.

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