One debate that is just never-ending is that which concerns environmental issues. Throughout the world, there are problems related to resource energy, forest cover depletion and most important one, global warming. But, the real problem arises where we are unaware of how to prioritise these issues. Yes, they are all important and yes, they all need to be tackled. But, from personal observation, it is seen that we need to compromise on one or the other resources to sustain something that is causing a problem today. Plastic is one product that was a boon but, of late, has proved to be a bane today. And what is done to get rid of plastic? Or more importantly, how is it being reduced in terms of production and consumption? One solution that we have come up with is that of using paper. Yes, it is a good alternative, but we have to compromise on the forest cover. Hundreds of trees are cut to make paper cups and bags. But, this isn’t a good solution. Some may argue that trees can be plants and grow back. But, the time it takes for a tree to grow is years. And clearly the consumption exceeds the source for miles. We could recycle as well, but does that justify the disruption of climate due to low humidity or the excess of carbon dioxide? And you know what that contributes to.
A few months ago, I had attended a panel discussion about sustainable development in regard to the situation in Bengaluru. More specifically, it had to do with the garbage problem in the city. The panel had about four member comprising of environmentalists and professors who have done research in field of sustainable development and the environment. There was one woman who was the pioneer of making reusable sanitary napkins. Her aim was to reduce the use of plastic, by using these cloth pads instead of sanitary pads. And she went on to explain how it worked, which sort of got me thinking about how this could possibly work. It hadn’t struck me then but I would have raised this question if I did. The panellist was saying that these cloth pads needed to be put in a bucket of water each day after using and then hung out in the sun to sterilise it. You can’t recycle this water and all you can do is just flush it down the drain. This got me thinking, Bengaluru is one of the cities that were named in the report by Down to Earth Magazine, that stated that about 200 cities around the world is going to face a severe water shortage and eventually reach ‘Day Zero.’How do you compromise?
The garbage problem in Bengaluru is something that has increased over the years and there is way too many problems that come up because of this. But, at the same time, water shortage is also a very prominent problem that deserves to be spoken about too. If people keep using up the water to wash cloth pads, then how do we deal with the shortage? Where do we make the compromise? Can we do anything about it? This article is written only to put my confusion out there. If there is a way to come to a consensus where we don’t waste water and also do not contribute to the garbage problem that would be great. But this confusion, I hope, is shared.
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