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City with a conscience

By the time you read this, many journalists across the city would have already been inundated with mails that announce “celebrations” centred on World Environment Day, which falls on June 5. Offers, discounts, freebies and competitions to increase awareness have become the hip thing to do, these days.

You’ll come across any or all of these initiatives: planet earth drawing competitions for your kids, cloth and natural fabric bag sales, no-plastic drives; talks, debates and discussions about saving Mother Nature, its plant and animal life. It makes for excellent photo-ops and multiple feel-good moments while it lasts.

But what about the rest of the year? The true meaning and purpose of this date, like so many others in the same bracket World Wetlands Day, Earth Day et al, seem forgotten as soon as the next big, socially cool event comes by. Our city, like most others across India, is filled with citizens who care, and those who don’t; the latter being the dominant group. David versus Goliath imagery would be ideal for this scenario.

These days, in our urban centres, the number of cars per family equals if not is more than the number of members. Agreed, the city’s public transport woes hardly bring relief to commuters. So, why not encourage car-pooling? The sale and usage of plastic bags continues with alarming nonchalance.

Why not carry your own cloth bags for groceries and other chores? Surely, you have the right to refuse the plastic bag the next time your neighbourhood baniya hands it over to you. Civic sense starts at home, so it’s appalling to spot kids imitate their parents as they senselessly litter spaces without as much as a reprimand. Lessons taught in school can stay there, thank you.

Water wastage is another shocking habit that occurs daily in our households how often do we allow the water flow as we brush our teeth or shave? Greening our homes is a great tool that city folk can embrace with both hands. Why not make space in one of those urban monstrosities the box grill that dons most apartments to create a green patch? If you’re lucky enough to have space in your terrace, the possibilities are immense.

Clearly, the questions in this column are far too many. It’s high time that we stop ignoring the negative impact that that we seem to blindly be imposing on our planet’s diminishing resources. However, what is reassuring is that solutions are aplenty and don’t require rocket science to implement. Stop, think and make those little changes to your daily lives. It all adds up, eventually.

The writer is Features Editor of mid-day

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