Nature vs Garbage

For those who are short on time and inclination, here is the conclusion in advance: kindly carry your own trash bags wherever in the remote wilderness you go and carry back your non-biodegradable trash with you, even small chocolate wrappers, and dispose it in a city.

Mudhumalai - notice the white spots

Mudhumalai - notice the white spots

I am presenting a true incident here only as a ‘technology demonstrator’ that change is possible…!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some time back I went to a place Thattekere, very nice spot with a small lake and some hills…

Birds eye view of Thattekere

Birds eye view of Thattekere

Having spent the whole morning in the midst of nature, my mind had become very peaceful, and in such a state, one is very unlikely to get into trouble! 🙂 I picked up a large cover, walked up to the group, took a fleeting wild guess at who appeared to be the most rational of them, and walked up to him and asked casually “do you need this cover or do you already have one?” He was surprised that a total stranger was talking to him like an old friend, and asked “why?”. I replied “so that you can put all this trash into it” as if he was going to do it anyway. He was a bit off balance but only for a moment, and replied “no thanks, we already have some”. I replied, oh ok fine, and walked away.

I returned to my group, chatted for a while with the others and did some general time pass… and later the other group came in sight… they were leaving the place. I walked back to their spot and was amazed… it was restored to its former perfection!

I looked around and saw two large plastic covers next to a tree… full of used plates, plastic cups, etc.

In Germany, I have seen even the richest people partition their garbage and personally carry and drop it into the respective recycling bins in the street. Here somehow many people seem to have the impression that disposing of garbage personally is below their dignity and should be done only by ‘low class’ people.

To continue… I picked their two bags and started walking back, and happened to overtake the group which wasnt very hard since they were chatting and walking very slowly. The same gentleman whom I had spoken to earlier asked what I was planning to do with those bags. A lot of funny responses came to my mind but I restrained myself; I expressed my admiration on how neatly they had cleaned up the place without leaving any trace behind, and explained that since nobody would come and pick up the covers, soon monkeys or some other animals would come and distribute them all over the place again when they smelt some left over food inside. And these animals would possibly choke on the plastic stuff and go through a lot of misery. I added that I myself hadnt known all these things, until I happened to read them in the paper. Hence the best thing to be done with the garbage would be to take it back and throw it in the city where it would be picked up.

He replied “no problem, please dont take the trouble, let me do it myself” and took the covers from me. He wondered if I some officer or custodian or something and I said no, Im an engineer at HP. We started chatting and he said he he and his group were from BHEL and just stopped by since they were passing through the place. Eventually we parted as friends. I am not really a nature activist or something. Im only a software engineer who also cares about the environment and does a little bit for it now and then. I considered it one more victory for nature, just for one more day.

Maybe tourists cant really be blamed because they have no idea what to do with their trash, because dustbins cant possibly be present everywhere. One solution could be that they be given bags to put their trash in at the entry point to any place (which somebody told me is actually done in many places in the US). I suggest this to government agencies wherever I go, but these things take time. For the time being, lets all carry our own trash bags.

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