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The Men who clean

Today I saw some men working to pick wastes and dump them into the Municipal Van for disposal. They were not wearing even masks but were exposed the deadly waste. I felt so sad for those men who were spending their lives cleaning the wastes we have generated. They were doing one the most important work on earth but what do they get out of it? Just a few bucks for their living. No they are getting much more than just some money.

Just see how these wastes affect their lives.

  1. Plastic: plastic waste constitutes 60 to 80 percent of the waste in our waters, and 90 percent of floating waste. Plastic wastes can break down and release toxins. Please find some facts below:

1)      These toxins  have short and long terms effects like:

  • Neurological disorders (Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression, attention deficit disorder, schizophrenia, etc.)
  • Cancer
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Enzyme dysfunction
  • Altered metabolism
  • Reproductive disorders
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Obesity
  • Muscle and vision problems
  • Immune system depression
  • Allergies/Asthma
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Chronic viral infections
  • Less ability to tolerate/handle stress

2)      Toxins from plastic Bottles: most plastic bottles are made from bisphenol A (BPA) or polyethylene terephthalate (PET) materials, which are unknowingly ingested and may cause major harm to the body’s essential functions. toxins from plastic bottles pose a risk to consumer health, and could be linked to cancer, neuron damage and stinted health and development in children

3)      House hold product wastes: Several common household products are often not recognized as hazardous waste. Fluorescent light bulbs save on energy but usually have toxic mercury that can leak into municipal landfills if the bulb breaks. they contain mercury, a carcinogen that might dissipate into the air after being crushed

  1. 2. Metal Trash:

Toxic metals could be the cause of memory loss, increased allergic reactions, high blood pressure, depression, mood swings, irritability, poor concentration, aggressive behavior, sleep disabilities, fatigue, speech disorders, high blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, vascular occlusion, neuropathy, autoimmune diseases, and chronic fatigue. These are just some of the many conditions resulting from exposure to toxins.

As levels rise in our air, water, and topsoil, they also rise within our bodies, contributing to chronic diseases, learning disorders, cancer, dementia, and premature aging.

Heavy metals poison us by disrupting our cellular enzymes, which run on nutritional minerals such as magnesium, zinc, and selenium.  Toxic metals kick out the nutrients and bind their receptor sites, causing diffuse symptoms by affecting nerves, hormones, digestion, and immune function. There seems to be a higher level of heavy metal toxicity in children in the Autistic spectrum. The evidence suggests that some children in the autistic spectrum build up more of these toxic metals because of an inability to excrete them. When they become lodged in the brain the brain does not function normally, causing autistic symptoms and learning disorders.

These rag pickers work open in the toxins and risk their lives for us and we openly throw wastes outside our house without any botheration thinking someone will surely clean it.

A few days back I was travelling by local train. I saw a child eating Cadbury. He removed the wrapper from the Cadbury and asked his Mom who was sitting beside what he should do with it. His Mom instructed him to throw it out of the window. He threw the wrapper out. Next he removed some more part of the wrapper but before he could throw it I took it from his hand and kept it in my bag so that It could be disposed at the proper place.

I was thinking about the lady after that. She was not the only one but there are many parents who have been doing this mistake of giving their kids a wrong lesson. They do not even think about the danger this action can cause. Children learn from their parents and if parents will not teach them to keep their environment clean then who else will? Though there are many people I have met who are conscious about environment but what is the percentage of such people in our Country? What will these few people do if all others are not even ready to cooperated but making the situation worst.

Have you ever thought how these wrongly disposed wastes affect our environment? Just imagine if these Men do not work for cleaning our environment, what will happen to our earth.

Please see some facts below:

  • Toxins buried below ground can reach underground water streams, which empty out into nearby water sources. These pollutants affect surrounding wildlife.
  • Toxic and hazardous waste often get mixed with municipal waste in the sewage system. If farmers use the sludge from sewage systems for fertilizer, any toxic chemicals mixed in with sewage sludge can contaminate the soil that fertilizer is used on. Soil cannot readily bind with toxic chemicals, leading plants to capture them as they grow from the soil.
  • Hazardous waste that leaches into the environment also tends to become a public health danger,  Toxic waste can travel hundreds, even thousands of miles and infect sites that have nothing to do with the original dumping.
  • Common pesticides such as DDT and Dioxin have low concentrations in water because they are not readily soluble in water, but can dilute within animal fats. In humans, the build up of toxins leads to sickness. Animals can become sick and pass toxins on to predators.
  • From being an eyesore to releasing toxins, improper waste disposal on any scale can create environmental problems, health problems and even economic concerns.
  • Littering causes an eyesore, which devalues the land around it. This impacts tourism, businesses and residents alike.
  • Improperly disposing of waste prevents resources from being reused. This is particularly true of plastics, metals and paper. This loss of resources means a heavier reliance on virgin materials, which often require more energy to make new products than required by reusing existing resources.
  • Some waste contains chemicals that can be released into the environment if not disposed of properly. Some of these wastes include electronics, plastics, batteries, certain types of pressure treated wood and paint.
  • In addition to releasing toxins into the soil and water, improperly disposed waste also releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
  • If waste isn’t discarded properly on land, when it rains the waste is soaked and is then carried through the landfill, eventually making its way into the water you may drink. Especially dangerous chemicals are volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, which usually come from household cleaners and industrial solvents used in operations like dry cleaning. These compounds have been linked to everything from cancers to birth defects
  • Another danger, especially with open pits, comes from the spread of diseases–usually carried by rodents and bugs. An example of this is malaria, which festers in open areas with standing water and particularly hot and muggy temperatures. In addition, there may be a propensity for people to scavenge wastes in landfills and open pits, which again can create unsanitary conditions and aid the spread of disease.
  • As waste begins to break down, methane is produced. Methane is considered a greenhouse gases that is responsible for some of the spike in the earth’s temperatures.

Next time before you feel like throwing the waste on the road please think about these people and the kind of life they live. Think about the danger they are exposed to. We are lucky enough to enjoy the AC’s in our homes but these men are playing with the danger in open. As a human it is our duty to take care of our society and take care of the people who clean our society.

And if you are still not convinced think about children who will be using our earth in future. Think about the impacts of our mistakes on their lives. We have already seen an increase in health hazards due to the tampering which we have been doing with our environment. We have been enjoying the wonders on earth but what about our future generations? If we keep on harming our environment, what will they enjoy? Will there be any resources left for them?

Different countries in the world have realized the importance of proper waste disposal and they have regulations and practices to control them but when will we realize that we are also living on the same ground. If they are putting efforts to at least save our environment from getting worst, isn’t it our duty to participate in the same movement? Isn’t our duty to keep our earth clean? We keep our houses clean because we live on them. Then why do we forget the principal of cleanliness when we go out? Isn’t this country also our home?

Are you aware about the amount of wastes we generate in our country? See some more facts:

  • About 0.1 million tonnes of municipal solid waste is generated in India every day. That is approximately 36.5 million tonnes annually.
  • Per capita waste generation in major Indian cities ranges from 0.2 Kg to 0.6 Kg.
  • The urban local bodies spend approximately Rs.500 to Rs.1500 per tonne on solid waste for collection, transportation, treatment and disposal. About 60-70% of this amount is spent on collection, 20-30% on transportation and less than 5% on final disposal.

Between 2000 and 2025 the waste composition of Indian garbage will undergo the following changes:

  • Organic Waste will go up from 40 percent to 60 percent
  • Plastic will rise from 4% to 6%
  • Metal will escalate from 1% to 4%
  • Glass will increase from 2% to 3%
  • Paper will climb from 5% to 15%
  • Others (ash, sand, grit) will decrease from 47% to 12%

Wake up to the call of mother earth. We need to save our planet and the efforts starts from home. Start thinking about our country as an individual first then only you will be able to make any difference in the society

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