Think before you throw garbage on the roadside
Littering is a crime under the Indian Penal Code, Section 279. Unfortunately, it is still a common practice in India. It puts a huge burden on local municipalities, which have to spend crores of rupees on cleaning up streets, segregating waste and ultimately recycling it. Lack of proper waste management bins and roadside garbage bins can also add to the problem of garbage pile-up, which, in turn, can lead to deadly communicable diseases.
To curb littering, we must first understand why people do it in the first place. The following are some of the common reasons for littering in India. The list is, by no means, exhaustive:
- Existing pile of garbage: Research shows that open accumulation of garbage in a specific place leads to increased littering. People get the impression that it is the right thing to throw the garbage onto an existing pile of waste.
- Lack of trash bins: Despite numerous initiatives taken by the Central government, there is still a lack of proper sanitation and waste disposal facilities in many parts of India. Without proper garbage disposal facilities, such as roadside bins or trash cans, people easily resort to littering, as they hold the government liable for lack of installation of proper waste bins on the roads.
- Lack of awareness: Many people are unaware of the detrimental effects of littering; hence they keep on throwing garbage without any regard for the environment. This problem is not only limited to the rural areas, as even the urban population is equally involved in littering. Health and safety drives, and other forms of awareness campaigns, detailing the cause-and-effect relationship between littering and the environment should be laid out for the general public so that people can make informed choices.
- Construction projects: Discarded waste or leftover debris from the construction of residential houses and office buildings are also often thrown away at random places.
Impact of Littering
The lack of proper waste disposal can lead to long-term implications that can affect humans, animals and the environment as a whole.
- Impact on humans: Waste, if not properly segregated and collected, can end up harming people in a variety of ways. For example, carelessly throwing cigarette butts can spark fires. Littering food items can lead to the spread of pests and diseases. Unkempt trash cans or dumpsters may harbour malaria/ dengue-spreading mosquitoes. Biohazardous waste may also end up in water bodies and can contaminate entire water systems.
- Impact on animals: Both land and marine animals often mistake dumped plastic items for food. The stomach of animals cannot digest plastic. This can prove to be detrimental for their health and can potentially kill them. Animals are also susceptible to damage from harmful waste materials, such as biomedical waste, which may contain deadly pathogens.
- Impact on the environment: Carelessly throwing garbage along the sides of the road, on the streets, in water bodies, can lead to toxic materials or chemicals to be washed into rivers, oceans, lakes, creeks, forests, etc. This waste will eventually lead to pollution of the waterways, land, forest areas, soils or aquatic environments.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF), together with the State Pollution Control Board, governs waste management in India. The National Environment Policy emphasises not only on proper waste disposal methods but also on recycling and waste treatment procedures. Many laws have been laid down to improve waste disposal practices in India. Some of them are:
- The Environment Protection Act, 1986
- The Hazardous Waste Rules, 2008
- The Plastic Waste Rules, 2011
- Biomedical Waste Rules, 1998
- The E-waste Rules, 2011
- The Batteries Rules, 2001
An increase in industrial activity and population have made it even more important to maintain a balance between economic growth and protection of the environment. Emphasis should be laid on sustainable development, instead of quick gains.
Acting as a vanguard in the waste disposal industry, and setting an example for numerous dustbin suppliers in India, Sheetal Group has been consistently contributing towards a cleaner future. For the last 30 years, the company has been providing reliable solutions for problems like improper waste management, water storage, and sanitation. With their motto of facilitating a clean and green India, their ever-increasing catalogue of products can cater to specific needs and provide unparalleled reliability and customization options in waste management. These products in turn help to put an end to the problem of littering.