The first impression that your NRI friend or perhaps you yourself get when back from a long holiday abroad is the feeling of dust all around. As you head home from Delhi airport you seem to wonder why the green foliage doesn't look as green as it looked abroad, and are appalled by the heaps of garbage lying on the roadsides.
Chandigarh is by far one of the cleanest cities in our country, but there are still many who feel otherwise. In fact there is still a lot of improvisation that can be done in and around the city.
My sister was very appalled and irritated one day when she could not locate a single dustbin all the way from Panchkula to Chandigarh. Heaps of garbage and wet foul smelling muck can be seen lining several tricity roads.
The rehriwalas who come to collect garbage from the homes are ill-equipped too. They overload their wagons, with the result that the litter spills all along the roads. It is sad to observe that the garbage pickers use no measures such as gloves or work overalls to safeguard their own health.
The ban imposed by the Himachal Pradesh high court on the use of plastic packaging for junk food (w.e.f. Jan 26) is indeed a welcome move. Why not implement such a ban in the whole of India? This could ensure that heaps of non-biodegradable waste lying in street corners of our country to soon become a thing of the past!
There can be a solution to counter the dust problem too, to some extent. In the U.S., there is abundant usage of 'mulch' on open areas of soil where there is no grass cover or concrete. Organic mulch is a material often made of leaves, compost, grass clippings, wood chips or bark.
It is spread over the soil surface and helps to protect the soil from erosion, conserve moisture, and suppress weed growth. It also gives an aesthetic look to the garden or landscape where it is used. As Chandigarh does have a number of trees and green coverage, the fallen leaves and twigs could be put to good use by turning it to mulch. The result would be lesser dust.
In lighter vein, it is amusing to observe the recent spurt in the sales of Aam Admi merchandise such as the 'AAP Jhadu'. Time to put it to practical (literal) use too, folks.