Do Your Bit for Planet Earth
Each of us can make a difference so why don’t we contribute in any possible way, however small, to improving our environment. Let’s make the world a beautiful place!
When you drive on our city roads, you realize the alarming extent at which environmental degradation is swamping urban India. Streets choc-a-bloc with garbage, overflowing rubbish bins, wild, undisciplined vehicles spewing toxic fumes and honking cacophonously – these are all common sights and sounds and we take them for granted. All around us there are people who use the streets as public toilets. Water shortage has become an unpleasant but harsh reality and groundwater levels are sinking lower and lower. Unscrupulous developers cut down trees, causing further environmental havoc.
We sit in our living rooms and moan and groan about the sorry state of our cities, crib about water shortage and power cuts and shake our heads and blame it on someone else! Agreed – we are not solely responsible for this sorry but each one of us does contribute to it in some way. How many of us can honestly answer no to the following questions?
- Do you use plastic bags?
- Are you living in an apartment complex where the promoters have cut down all the trees?
- Do you leave the tap running when you wash your face or brush your teeth?
- Do you casually fling out tetra packs, empty chips packets or a cigarette butt out of the car window?
- Do you drive when you can walk down to the grocery store?
While the government, the corporations, the municipalities and even industries that pollute our rivers with effluents need to wake up and clean up their act, we can do our bit to save our natural resources and make our cities better places to live in. We can do this by practicing environment-friendly actions and persuading our families, friends, employees, colleagues and even our household help to adopt the same practices. Granted that nothing happens overnight, but if each of us does our little bit to nurture the environment, it will make a difference.
Start at home
Remember the old saying – charity begins at home? Well, unless we set an example, how can we influence others? There are so many little things we can do at home to save precious resources and protect the environment.
Water is in short supply these days. Let’s face it – most of us who have running water in our houses tend to take it for granted. We are careless with our usage of water. What can we do?
- Don’t leave taps running when brushing your teeth or washing your face.
- Repair leaky taps immediately.
- Invest in water saving cisterns.
Another thing we take for granted is electricity.
- Don’t leave your television set or music system on standby mode.
- Switch off fans, lights and air conditioners when you leave a room.
- Minimize the use of air conditioners. Try to use them only when the heat is unbearable.
- Buy CFL or LED lights to save on power.
So much of our household rubbish can be recycled.
- In India, recycling is so easy since we have people coming home to collect old newspapers and bottles. The neighborhood raddiwaala is the ideal recycling agent!
- Don’t throw away gift-wrapping paper. Fold it carefully and reuse it. No, it’s not a cheap thing to so. Every time paper is manufactured, our trees are being hacked down. You can even use newspapers to gift-wrap. Just add some dazzle with ribbons, or paste on used greeting cards, anything…just use your imagination!
- Use old newspapers, brochures and leaflets to line cupboard shelves and kitchen shelves.
We can do our bit for the environment at work
While company policies may dictate the use of paper, electricity and water, we can still practice environment consciousness at the workplace.
- Switch off your computer, cabin lights and air conditioner when you are not working.
- Make a conscious effort to prevent wastage of office stationery.
- At offices so many superfluous printouts pile up through the day. Recommend to your boss that these be collected and made into scribbling pads with the unused side being utilized.
- If your office serves you beverages and water in disposable plastic cups, bring your own tumbler to work.
Practice environment-consciousness everywhere
Many of us keep our homes spick and span but never think twice about tossing litter onto the road.
- Keep a bag in your car to collect any junk and empty it when you reach home.
- Teach your children to take pride in their environment.
- Carry cloth bags with you when you go shopping. If enough consumers make a concerted effort, a time will come when retailers stop dispensing plastic bags.
- Be proud of your neighborhood. If the garbage cans are overflowing or people are using the pavements as open toilets, call the concerned authorities. You may think that there is no point in dealing with bureaucracy, but if residents continuously harass them, they are forced to act. Many neighborhoods in cities have active citizen groups who have been successful in implementing changes for the better.
- Get together with your neighbors and plant trees. Our choking city air desperately needs more greenery. Grow plants in your garden and on your veranda.