Thought for the Environment

What prevents educated persons from being environmentally conscious? What blocks their mind from seeing the consequences of their everyday actions?
Of late (I mean as long as 6 years) I look at tings through a waste-management eye - trying to answer the question “Where will this go once its useful life is spent?”
And then in my mind loom pictures of stinking landfills and rag-pickers rummaging through certainly toxic garbage.

Let’s take a few items of everyday use for starters.

1. The alkaline battery that toys, clocks, personal gadgets use: When you buy a pair of these cells, do you ever spare a thought to their after-life? A few years ago, Bangalore civic authorities had a scheme by which spent batteries could be deposited in a receptacle on MG Road for safe disposal later. (I wonder what came of that.) I had changed over to rechargeable batteries (not that I have shelf-loads of them) to use at home in toys, clocks, the camera and the remote. That's also the time I stopped buing battery operated toys as gifts. Admittedly it’s a merry musical chair kind of scenario. The clocks stop if my son wants to show off his toy car and its remote to his friends (and yes, the battery guzzler was a gift from a foreign-returned fond relative). You need to think more than twice before you decide to drive to the mall to pick up a few cells. If at all you have to use battery operated stuff, you will do well to resolve never to buy the non-rechargeable kind. Admittedly a higher cost now, but believe me, we have not even begun to fathom the ecological costs of our actions. And most likely, you have not heard of PES (Payment for Ecosystem Services) yet

2. The ‘carry-bag’: On every visit to the friendly neighbourhood grocer, I stare at shoppers taking away vegetables in white ‘carry-bags’. My perpetual entreaties / suggestions to the grocer fall on attentive ears – I am a regular customer! – but she expresses helplessness while also agreeing that she could save as much as Rs 2000/ per month if people brought their own bags. If I find myself at the shop without a bag? I come away as empty-handed.

3. The cups that crinkle: At meets, parties and social gatherings, stacks of this cup can be seen, meant for cool and hot drinks. They are crinkled after use and disposed of in and all around the 'Use Me' bins. Wonder who termed these 'disposable'. Of late use of paper cups can be seen, perhaps when the gathering is elite, or relatively small in numbers?

That's just a few of the items we all need to reduce / avoid using. The list is agonisingly long. Let's start somewhere, sometime...at home and now?
Spare a thought for the environment, it's never too late, or so I'd like to believe...

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