Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Garbage Problem

 refuse, environmental abuse, going green
There is no such thing as garbage; just useful stuff in the wrong place.
There is no such thing as away. When we throw anything away, it must go somewhere.
Cleanliness is the only medicine to all diseases.
These quotes are common ideals in certain climes. However,  It is common sight (especially in this part of the world) for people to toss trash at any available space (with gross impunity). These people nurse the false hope that the disposed item would disappear somehow.  Query them, and they will tell you it’s the role of the street cleaners to pick them up. Is it rocket science to put the litter in the bin? There are refuse bins scattered across the city; the paved road is not a designated dumping site! If you think you'll get away with it, think again.

There is no escape when you meet a long stretch of garbage across the wet roadside, and you're probably stuck in a traffic jam. Due to the overpowering stench, you may be forced to hold your breath till your lungs threaten to explode.

In a survey released by UNDP in 1997, 151 mayors from around the world ranked inefficient solid waste management as their second most urgent urban challenges surpassed only by unemployment and followed by urban poverty. This means that the garbage problem is very serious, and if unchecked would undermine our collective efforts toward going green. 

Organic wastes piled up in dumpsites under airtight conditions generate greenhouse gases, notably methane (which traps more heat than carbon dioxide). Greenhouse gases are synonymous with global warming/ climate change. Climate change is everybody’s business.

Garbage, sitting on water ways and drainage channels, has a way of aggravating floods. It’s not funny when a town is submerged in a soup of rubbish. 

It’s equally not funny when a tower of rubbish collapses and buries innocent people along with their dreams (especially children).  

It’s not funny when the rivers are so clogged with rubbish that you cannot eat from them or swim in them.

Even when the trash is burned, it releases smoke which is detrimental to human health and poisons the environment. 
The ugly spiral is very irksome and we need to do something drastic.
Many experts blame urbanization. They opine that with massive urbanization comes massive consumption. With massive consumption comes massive waste generation (liquid, gaseous, industrial and domestic) and attendant disposal problems resulting in a threat to the quality of air we breathe and water we consume. They may be right; they may also be wrong.  After all, some areas that are highly urbane and densely populated don’t have garbage problem.

A number of variables need to be factored in, and they are very complex for a layperson like me.  Are the people not enlightened or motivated enough to kick their poor refuse disposal habits, or are they just plain dubious? I don’t know. For me, running a postmortem or playing the blame game is lame. I would simply do my part to manage my own trash, and then water down my Keep-your-environment-clean message to what a six-year old can effectively absorb. That should make a difference.

It is smart economic practice for governments to enshrine the culture of efficient waste management... Like it or not: mountains of rubbish would definitely woo pigs and germs in droves, not tourists or investors. It would dampen the psyche of residents in the affected area, who are forced to experience purulent coughs and sneezes, buzzing fleas, nauseating odor, disgusting scenes...frayed nerves (I forgot to add gross embarrassment). It is despair and disease outbreaks that would thrive, not livelihoods and businesses.  

Everything has its place in life. Garbage is just something that isn’t needed at a particular space and time.
Deal with it or be swallowed by it. Don't forget: The best and cheapest way to deal with waste is to prevent it. Better still, limit your consumption to what is necessary.

Thank you for reading my post.