Dec 20, 2010

Each time I buy a bottle of water, I twitch with guilt

I cannot look away any more, letting them pack all my goods in unnecessary plastic bags. A strip of a thin pink or blue plastic bag hanging out of the corner of the mouth of a homeless holy street cow is quite a disgusting sight. I have seen it far too many times. It really is easy to insist that the cashier take the bag back even if I have to do an extra hand movement and lift my bananas out of it. Somehow, at home, it eventually seemed easier not to bother any more and accept the ten bags on an average market day: one to wrap a few oranges, another for a bunch on bananas, then one for bread and yet another for cucumber. It looks so stupid now.

Even if there are no plastic-eating cows in Europe and the rubbish is neatly hidden away from my sight, it doesn't mean it's really gone. Landfills are as effective as brushing the dirt under the carpet in the living room. Recycling still uses up natural resources and in turn creates its own pollution. India, being an incomparably poor country, simply does not have the money nor educational or infrastructural systems to deal with it yet.

Visiting India is a perfect crash-course on environmental issues for a Westerner like me. I know that at home I inevitably produce ten times more garbage than I would ever do in India, where I mostly consume only to cover my basic needs. Even then, the locals undoubtedly produce even less rubbish than me.

It is always a problem how to dispose of the daily plastic remains of my drinking water. The scraps of newspaper used for wrapping food is less of a problem to throw on a pile of crap on the street. Also, it took me only nearly two months to learn to drop fruit peel directly on the ground as opposed to carrying it around in search of a hungry goat.

Bins are rare and I know that probably even the ones I find will be emptied into nature. Or in better cases, burned right there on the street, adding to the thick blanket of smog that covers the lowlands from Delhi to the base of the Himalayas. I got all too familiar with the smell of burning plastic. It was very clear how every action of a single individual adds up to the allconsuming pollution. Why the Himalayan glaciers melt and how on earth that heat-absorbing soot gets on top of them is not a mystery any more. I try not to think about the carbon emissions of all the flights I take. Education has a cost - this is how I excuse it for myself.


väga väga naine said...

Ma olen tohutult tänulik päikselise ja sooja jõulukaardi eest!

Poleks saanudki paremal päeval tulla, ma olen nii haige ja armetu kodus.

Triin said...

Kui sul jõulu ja uue aasta vahel on aega, siis ma hea meelega kohtuks suga;)