One of the major critical impacts of plastics on environment is when animals such as cattle swallow it for food. It remains unprocessed in their rumen, leading to fatalities. I witnessed one such sight in Hapa when we were having our breakfast outside the deserted station. A cow was chewing an empty plastic bag. I was sitting with my colleague, Sagar W. and he too agreed that it was sad seeing those animals eating the polythene.
On board, in our train, we implore people to not use the thin plastic bags, the ones lesser than 20 microns. I wonder how much of what we say is really heard and done. However, this was not a time to feel dejected. It was the time to act upon all those advice we have given to people for the past seven months. We showed the poor animal to the Chaiwala Bhaiyya. I explained to him in the simplest manner what happens when a cow or any other animal swallows a plastic bag. He seemed to ponder upon on what I said. Then in despair, he asks, “Ben, then what solution do you propose? What is it that I can do to not let this happen?”
We looked at each other for some seconds and then we spoke up. We told him that if we properly dispose of the plastic garbage in dustbins instead of letting them lay in open heaps, it wouldn’t be much of an open invitation to those animals. We then went on explaining how this could also be a solution to the insanitary conditions in India.
What he did next brought tears to my eyes!
He set the kettle of tea aside from the flame, got down the dais and bent down to pick up all the littered discarded milk packets. He collected them all and dumped them in the large garbage bin. After washing and wiping his hands with a kerchief, he went on boiling and making tea.
I guess, our role in this national and global revolutions is much more than just communicating. It is reaching out towards the grass-root and connecting with them. It is stating the problem and giving simple solutions. It is being an integral part of real India and not just clapping on seeing some sentimental documentary. Because in the end it is not at all about sympathy but all about empathy.
Bhawna Jain: As shared with the SECAS Blog Team: Nitin, Yashashree and Ritu!
(Bhawna is a bubbly girl from Delhi who has completed her Masters in Chemistry. A hard core Vegetarian, she can be seen asking at the hotel reception, “Bhaiyya, yahan non-veg toh milta hai na?” On getting a positive response, she turns on her heels with, “Toh yahan main nahi kha sakti!” She also occasionally cooks in the buffer zone, spreading aroma around the coach much to the envy of other communicators who for the time being are just some other hungry people. 😉
Sporting a strong and unwavering personality, she has a streak of sticking to what she believes in and going after everything she can accomplish.)