Dealing with garbage

The word 'daana' of trash was appealing. No money is involved in this work!

It was an obnoxious scene which led to a hellish atmosphere in the locality. I couldn’t count myself one among those nonchalant people. Mounds of garbage was spread helter-skelter by the dogs, cows, crows and the other ‘rightful inheritors of the earth!’

The environmental hazard probably increased the people’s immunity! I don’t know yet, the secret of people being ‘sthitha prajnas.’ Neighbours, government agencies, leaders… all remain unfazed. I realised that marching ahead stoically amidst the stinking surrounding was not my cup of tea. I felt I must do something.  

My mind began to work. I tried to work out the varied ways of profitable productivity of the garbage. I stood on the other side of a garbage knoll as a sanitary inspector with an intent look at the visitors on the garbage hillock. What caught my scrutinising eyes and provided food for my thoughts was the pile of plastics, wrappers and other pieces of dry waste. Yes, I could save Mother Earth of about 40 per cent of dry waste percolating into her and also help a ragpicker earn a livelihood and lead a decent life. This would happen if only I could plan for a systematic segregation of the waste at the source and disposal of the dry waste to the recycling centre.

 There was neither delay nor hindrance in putting my idea into action. Technology was put in use to the fullest. I called up my friends in my locality and shared my thoughts. I told them how my mother used to keep aside a fistful of rice in a box everyday before she cooked the rice. Every 30y days the collected rice was cooked and mixed with sambar and sent to the leprosy ashram for the inmates. This was done by many people and the inmates everyday had sumptuous meals. ‘Narayana Seva’ was the name given to this activity.

I applied this theory to the ‘donation’ of dry waste. I motivated my friends to keep aside everyday in the kitchen in a gunny bag dry waste that they came across at home which includes empty toothpaste tubes, milk sachets, shampoo sachets, plastic covers, chocolate-biscuit wrappers, empty bottles, used plastic water bottles, empty packs, empty ice-cream cups, tetra packs, tins, foil wrappers, used paper glasses, paper plates, paper napkins, broken dolls, torn bags, old clothes…each and every dry waste and hand them over once a week to a ragpicker who would further segregate and sell the same to the recycling centres.

We could help him to eke out a living by our ‘daana’ or ‘donation’. My words clicked. The word ‘daana’ of trash was appealing. No money is involved in this virtuous work! Now nearly 50 houses in my locality donate the trash which is accepted as a treasure by the ragpicker who comes once in every week...now in a mini-van. Tonnes of dry waste are being saved from polluting the environment. Sure it can be done in every locality?

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