12 tips to manage the garbage crisis.
Recycling has long been a mantra – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – however sad to say that this has not been taken to heart by people living in Sri Lanka and especially Colombo where garbage mountain has become a reality!
Today the electronic media, social media and the print media is full of news about Dengue, garbage problem and the disaster at the Meethotamulla garbage dump -where 36 people lost there lives (including children) when a big portion of a garbage mountain fell on 80 odd houses.
What all these indicate is the lack of proper environmental regulations and policies in the country, the irresponsibility of government officials and their department negligence, lack of proper mechanism to dispose garbage, peoples carelessness or ignorance about disposing garbage and keeping their environment free of mosquito breeding and lastly the greed and selfishness of the politicians. I have mentioned them last because they are the least concerned because as Sri lankans we know by experience time and time again we simply cannot expect anything positive from any of the politicians either in the government or in the opposition, they are all the same, a complete disaster, an epic failure and an absolute bunch of losers.
So what can we as individuals do at a our level? To begin with, we must all feel guilty and responsible that 30 odd people died at the Meethotamulla because of our garbage. If we are not directly responsible. We are all at least responsible indirectly.
This is why we must concentrate on what can be done as individuals rather than getting into the bandwagon of a typical Sri Lankan nature of carrying out the blame game or remaining completely oblivion to everything that has happened and is happening.
This is what we as individuals and householders can do:
- Realizing the need to change the way we dispose garbage- by sorting in such a way suitable for recycling -keep separate bins for glass, plastic, paper and food waste.
- When you go to buy your groceries take a cloth bag or bags that is made of any other recyclable material other than polythene bags
- Do not dispose items that can be reused – especially bags.
- Do not purchase something unless you really need it.
- Don’t cook or buy extra food unless you are willing to eat later over a few days and don’t serve more than you can eat.
- Food leftovers should be reused even if they need to be reprosessed e.g. breakfast item used for lunch.
- What you don’t need donate to others.
- Convert your food waste into compost -that can be used in the garden.
- Reduce the use of plastic bottles, spoons, mugs etc.
- Take your own mug if you want coffee to go. Initially it might look silly, but no one has the audacity to judge you, as you are trying to bring about change.
- Always have your own water bottle this will prevent you buying plastic mineral water bottles.
- When you go shopping require for the good without packing unless you are giving gift.
If we as individuals can start somewhere it will be productive rather than cursing our stars and the politicians for our misfortune. Let the death of these innocent people and their children be an eye opener to all Sri Lankans, pass the message, do whatever you can in your own capacity at your homes, schools, workplaces, families and in neighbourhoods. If we have such individuals who are civic conscious then we can proceed to the next step that is the construction of a responsible civil society that is able to make the impossible, possible. A future free of the plague of politicians. Let our children learn from the examples we set for them today.