A Wake-up Call

Mar 29, 2023

A wake-up call for India’s Waste Management Incident

A few years ago, our homes were not producing much waste. Kitchen waste was either composted, recycled, or used in some way. However, with the rise of cubicle living and excessive consumption, we now generate massive amounts of waste. The piles of garbage outside every apartment building in cities are a clear example of this. Many of us believe that it is the government’s responsibility to manage and dispose of our waste, but this is not entirely true. We often blame the municipality team for not clearing our dumps, but the truth is that we must take responsibility for our own waste.
The Brahmapuram incident is a prime example of this. The government is not interested in proper waste disposal because they have no financial gain from it. Given the current state of affairs, it is best that we take care of our health by reducing or recycling our waste.

I recently traveled to Cochin for some emergency work and was shocked to witness the devastation caused by the fire. As my plane descended, I noticed that most of the places looked like European countries in the winter, despite it being summer in Kerala. It was then that I realized that the thick black smoke filling the sky was the result of the fire in Brahmapuram.

Despite the severity of the situation, I noticed that people were not reacting as much as I expected. It was only when the plane descended and the smoke thickness was not visible that I understood why. People tend to believe only what they see with their own eyes, and since the smoke was not visible to them, they were not reacting negatively to the situation.
Unfortunately, the recent fire in Cochin was caused by human action. It appears that the fire was set to protect certain interests in waste management, which is a heinous crime. However, due to the political connections involved, the truth may never come to light. Even the opposition party seems hesitant to address the issue, as some of their members may also be involved in this wrongdoing.

Reports indicate that the people of Cochin have been exposed to dangerous levels of dioxin, equivalent to the amount of poison that 80 lakh people would inhale in a year. Shockingly, the residents of Cochin have been breathing in this toxic air for over 11 days, which is more than most people would inhale in an entire year. With a population of nearly 3 crore people, the residents of Cochin have inhaled 100 times more of this poisonous air in just 11 days.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the maximum amount of poison a person can consume is 70 kilograms of their body weight. For example, if someone weighs 65 kg, they can consume a maximum of 54.6 nanograms of this poison. However, the people of Cochin have taken in 500 milligrams of this poison, which is extremely concerning.

The impact of this toxic exposure is particularly severe for children and the elderly, and many people have been admitted to the hospital. Unfortunately, the full extent of the damage may not be apparent for several years. Children, in particular, are at risk of long-term health effects, which may not manifest until several years down the line. As a result, many people are not taking this issue seriously enough. However, it is crucial that we address this issue now, before it is too late.
The widespread contamination of dioxin in water, food, and other substances has created a major problem. This toxic substance is now present everywhere, and even those who were not in Cochin at the time of its release will be affected later due to the contamination of air and water. The long-term effects of this poison include cancer and other serious health problems.

It is shocking to learn that this deadly poison was created by the Americans and Vietnam fighters to locate and kill guerrilla fighters in Vietnam. They sprayed the poison on leaves to burn them, making it easier to find their targets. However, the use of this poison had unintended consequences, as those who used it also suffered from health issues and infertility.
Reports suggest that the impact of this poison will be as severe as the Bhopal gas tragedy or Hiroshima. While the latter had an immediate impact, this poison is slow-acting and will take years to manifest in the form of cancer and other deadly diseases. It is a grave concern that we must not ignore.
Unfortunately, we tend to forget about such issues once the initial uproar dies down. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. We must consider the impact of our actions on the environment and other living beings on earth. The excessive production of plastic waste is a prime example of this. If we continue to burn plastic waste, it will have catastrophic consequences for humans and other life on earth.

After the recent incident, it has become apparent that no one is reacting to the matter at hand. Even some film actors have posted comments on their social media handles, but they have been careful not to criticize the government, stating that they have their own interests to protect. Unfortunately, no one has come forward to react to this major issue. This is surprising, as Keralites are known for reacting to all kinds of problems, even those that do not directly affect them.
Keralites have been known to react to issues such as cow slaughtering in North India, Saddam Hussein’s hanging, or Israel bombing Palestine. However, when it comes to something that directly affects their lives and the lives of their children, they seem to be hesitant to react. This is because their immediate interests are forcing them to keep quiet.
The government is well aware that people will not react strongly, so no serious research has been conducted on the subject. This matter will be quiet in a few days, and everyone will eventually forget about it once the smoke has settled. However, this issue will resurface again, and it will only get worse if we do not take action.
As humans, we need to think about the impact of our actions. If we decide not to buy any plastic items from any shop, we can stop this kind of violence that is affecting our lives. A few years ago, there was no waste generated by households. There was only kitchen waste that we used to give to domestic animals and birds. There were no dustbins or garbage bags. However, our lifestyle has changed significantly, and we now need everything in plastic packages, apart from the food waste that we are creating.

If we decide not to generate any waste or buy any plastic bags from the store and instead use cloth or paper bags, things will change. We need to take responsibility for our actions and make a conscious effort to reduce our plastic consumption. It is time to take action and make a difference.
Moreover, we can completely eliminate the occurrence of food waste by reprocessing it into other products. Dumping waste in landfills is not a viable solution as it will eventually come back to us. Initially, we may only require one acre of land, but as the waste accumulates, we will need 100 acres or more. The waste that seeps into the water, soil, and air will ultimately end up in our food and water supply, causing harm to our health. Therefore, we cannot solely blame the government for this issue; we must take responsibility for our actions.
This problem is not limited to one city or place; it affects many cities in India. If we do not take necessary precautions, we will suffer the same fate in the future. We will be consuming the poison we created, leading to our demise.
The government can raise awareness among the people by not only closing schools, colleges, and government offices but also by encouraging people to wear masks, wash their hands, and take other necessary precautions.

Many people have left cities in search of clean air, but the situation is the same everywhere. We must take action to prevent further harm to our environment and ourselves. It is time to take responsibility for our actions and make a conscious effort to protect our planet and all its inhabitants.
However, it is important to understand the gravity of the situation and take necessary steps to prevent such incidents from happening in the future. The government and the people of Kerala must work together to find a sustainable solution to the problem of plastic waste disposal and prevent such disasters from reoccurring.