It was not long back when the conservative lot, mostly comprising of huge producers, firms and individuals in India embraced westernization with open hands. In fact, they were very happy to let go of the Indian concept ‘reuse anything till it expires’ and adapted to the ‘use and throw’ culture.
A decade back, whenever I visited any temple, I used to get back home with a small cup made of a huge dried leaf most popularly called ‘donnai’ in tamil filled with delicious offerings to the deity. Whenever I accompanied my grand dad for a weekly shopping, he would carry a yellow cloth bag to deposit the groceries inside and if a mineral water bottle was purchased outside, the empty bottle will be carefully brought home for further usage.
Presently, this traditional method of reuse has started to deteriorate and westernization is taking place at a larger pace than expected. The ‘donnai’ in temples have been replaced by plastic cups, shopping bags have become strictly plastic bags which make annoying crunching noises and degrade the planet to a further extent.
The examples that I listed were very small when compared to the most shocking discoveries in the past 5 years, endangerment of sea habitat due to oil leakages from ships, deforestation of the Amazon forests to manufacture packing material for Barbie dolls and chocolates by a giant brand, the use of hazardous chemicals in the manufacturing process of a famous fashion wear brand in Beijing and rain-forest destruction adopted by the world’s largest fast food company, etc.
As these issues turned up one by one in the newspapers, I started worrying. I found it irresponsible and impossible from my side to let this happen and just watch over things. But currently, I feel the world has finally started to observe and to be remorseful. The Indian govt. has taken environmental degradation a serious issue. They had brought out a law that it is necessary for every vehicle be checked by the pollution control board, they had resorted to afforestation in some states of India and have even considered shutting down coal-mining plants in order to take measures against environmental destruction.
The environmental awareness factor has penetrated deep into the shopper’s community. The plastic bags that were given away for free are now being charged thereby making the buyers consider using alternative bags for shopping. There are several non-governmental and non-profit organizations which operate throughout the world for environmental protection who force the govt. and the corporate firms to detoxify their manufacturing process or amend laws to protect the place around us.
The social media has also become a huge contributing factor among the individuals for issues on environmental pollution. People and organizations create their own pages on social media making it visible to the larger public. They hold polls, questionnaires and online workshops on such issues. They also attract the common public through breath-taking videos on the destruction of nature and about various other issues.
With the advent of social media and the NGOs, I feel that we are heading towards a better world than the one in which we are now. If we had continued on the darker side of neglecting the environment, we must have ended up in a nasty corner. But now, we have very little chances of falling back as we had been quick to realize the downfall and resort to drastic measures of environmental protection.