Solid Waste (Mis)Management
One fine morning, the school assembly was in progress. All students and teachers were solemnly standing while National Anthem was playing loudly in the background. The sight was serene and calm. Suddenly there came a sound; a huge truck appeared to approach the nearby plot and then spread the most unbearable stench; penetrating each nose, afflicting every mind and permeating all nooks and corners. The assembly hastily dispersed, everyone running towards the classroom; breathing with wide-open mouth and holding hands tightly on to nose, the doors started banging. Then there was the silence, all waiting for the half-an-hour to pass. Finally, the time passed, the truck headed off and things returned to the normal.
I was in my mother’s school when all this happened one day. Needless to say, I was not surprised rather SHOCKED. Actually the school was situated next to a filth-depot-cum-garbage-dumping-ground. Since long, the School Head was requesting the higher authorities to do something about the nuisance being created by the filth depot as the situation was simply unbearable, but to no avail. The things did not proceed further than the rosy promises. Once Chief Health Officer of the city pledged that TMA (Tehsil Municipal Authority) had placed an order for the manufacturing of 75 containers; as soon as they were handed over to his branch this filth depot would not be utilized for collection of garbage. But that, too, remained a promise as the containers could never reach his branch, let alone the walled city.
The real ordeal visibly dawned on me that day. It was then that I realized why my mother was so anxious about her transfer from the school. The stench, the garbage, the sewage; everything was so inhuman; simply intolerable. But leaving the things as they were was not the solution. I started writing letters in individual capacity to all the high-ups of the city. Undaunted by the red-tapism and cold replies, I decided to take the matter to the court and filed an appeal in High Court in person.
The matter became a highlight. The judiciary vocally lauded my stance and formed a local commission for further probe into the matter. The commission, along with me, researched on the issue and came to the conclusion that shifting the depot and handing over of plot to the school was the only solution to the menace. Their suggestion could not be implemented as the District Government was unable to find any other place for the depot; however, it ordered and placed hygienically fit containers on the spot to avoid any further complaint. The appeal was disposed of and matter was temporarily resolved.
The other day I received a phone call from the School Head complaining that all those containers were lifted from the spot soon after the uproar created by the community and newspapers died, after the disposal of appeal. She was requesting me to do something as the issue was yet again unresolved. Holding the phone in my hand, I was lost, thinking whether we, as a Nation, would ever be able to change our ways? Would ever the efforts of concerned individuals like me be able to make a lasting difference? I am again determined to do something but is there anyone out there to extend a friendly hand this time? Is there anyone…?