Location of the problem: In the streets of Medavakkam
It was late afternoon – after school when me and my mom were walking to the problem area, where I identified the problem – garbage thrown on the roads and other areas which affects the people and the animals (waste management).
This problem affects animals (especially stray dogs and cows) a lot, as when they search for food, they consume the food along with the plastic which contains it.
This can choke the animal and cause diseases which can spread and affect many others. My mom also told me that my uncle saw an incident related to my problem in the news, that a cow was suffering in pain and when taken to the vet and operated , they found that 20 kg – 45 pounds – of plastic was found in the cow’s stomach as it had been eating from the garbage thrown in the plots and streets its whole life.
This shows how serious the problem can become and has to be taken care of. In other times , we have also seen people throwing garbage carelessly on the roads and outside the dustbins. So I took is up as my problem.
(road connecting to main road)
As we neared the place, I could smell the stench coming from it , and this is also one of the factors which affect the people living near it. From there I started taking the pictures.
The people I interviewed all explained to me how the problem affected them and their opinion on the problem. They also explained their view of how this problem can be managed and solved.
I decided to take photos of various places , some places outside my community , the roads in which people travel to go to office and few other places in medavakkam.
(eye level picture)
(On the side of the empty plot which was once a vegetable farm but now kept for building houses)
Interview : 1
Interviewee : My mom
Background : house wife
Age : 37
Gender : female
Person affected by the problem
Question : What is your opinion of garbage being thrown on the roads and other areas ?
Answer : If garbage is thrown on the roads it will be a disturbance to moving traffic or people. It will be tough for pedestrians who pass by.
Question : As you are a person being affected by this issue , what do you feel about it?
Answer : I fell that this issue should be taken care of , as garbage thrown on the roads can affect people , as it can create health hazards. This problem affects the daily lives of our neighbourhood . Example : Once when I accidentally stepped on the garbage , I got skin problems like itching and rashes. This happens to many people as well.
Question : So, in what way did this affect your daily life?
Answer : during rainy times, the garbage thrown on the roads used to clog the drainpipes , and rain water used to overflow on the streets of our neighborhood and it affects our daily routine. Many people including me cannot get things from the shop outside if water logging is there and if we step on the water it will cause bad skin problems.
Question : How do you think this problem can be managed?
Answer : I think we can regenerate degradable waste – like vegetable waste – from the non-degradable wastes – like plastic , in home itself, before we put the garbage in the bin. So , this can reduce further problems of garbage on roads if everyone of us do this . As a community we can suggest the corporation to collect garbage in 2 separate containers. ( Degradable and Non- Degradable )
Question : When you are passing near the garbage how do you feel ?
Answer : I feel irritated as it stinks very bad and garbage spilled on the road is disturbing.
Interview : 2
Interviewee name : Vidyasekaran Duvarakan
Background : Software architect
Age : 42
Gender : Male
Person who helped work on the problem and expert.
I’m Vidyasekaran and I’m a software architect, this ‘ garbage thrown on the roads ‘ problem has affected me when I travel on bike to my office, and makes it quite dangerous to drive on narrow road corners where garbage is thrown. I have also helped work on this problem.
Question : When you travel to your office , how does the garbage on the roads affect you?
Answer : As I turn around the street corners , I have to be very vigilant as the garbage is thrown on the roads in the corners and blocking it. I also have to be very careful when driving on narrow roads where garbage is there , as if I mistakenly drive on it, there are chances of it getting stuck to the bike wheel and skidding and falling. We have this problem of garbage on the areas in our community roads too which can cause difficulty to the people who travel through those roads by walk, or bike.
Question : What is your opinion of garbage being thrown on the roads?
Answer : Yes, garbage being thrown on the ground is not acceptable but there is also not enough dustbins available for people to put garbage in , and garbage is not collected in time from the dustbins making it worse as it overflows and garbage spills all over it and litters the roads too. This situation rises one more problem , the street dogs trying to find food in the garbage , scatter the garbage around and litter the area more.
Question : Did you take any measures towards managing this problem?
Answer : Yes, at home we tie the wastes properly in a bag so it wont spill out and put it in the dustbin in our community. This way further more garbage being thrown on the sides of the roads can be reduced. I have also help clean the parks and apart from inside the community I have participated in many beach cleanups too. I have taken initiative in our community to appoint workers to regularly clean the common places in the community.
Question : How do you think this problem can be managed?
Answer : From the starting step , I think individually , houses should tie up the waste properly and put it in the bin and not around or near it. This will reduce more garbage piling up on the roads. Second , we could slowly manage it in the community ourselves if we can educate or create awareness to the people in our community and inform them about the problem and the hazards its creating and will create , so that they will also follow it and dispose the garbage properly, we could do this by holding community meetings to discuss topics regarding the place like this one. Third ,all of us could pay and appoint workers to clean the already thrown garbage in the roads in our whole community in and around. After these steps , the community will be fairly clean as most of the people will try to dispose the garbage properly and it wont pile up , and as workers are appointed for cleaning the community regularly. Then we could request the corporation to collect the garbage frequently and on time so the dustbins don’t overflow and we could also request for more dustbins and bigger ones. Even if it is a difficult process , if we have ambiguity and creative confidence , and manage it , this problem can be managed in the community, and yeah.
Interview : 3
Interviewee name : Sudhakaran Duvarakan
Background : Press , photographer
Age : 45
Gender : Male
Person who knows a lot about the problem
and helped work on the problem. Affected by the problem too.
Question : As you are a press photographer, you would be in contact with the news regularly, so are there any incidents that has happened due to improper garbage disposal?
Answer : Yes, dispose of waste like this can result in contaminated wastewater, unexpected releases of toxins and environmental pollution. I have heard that private individuals can generate more then 1.5 tonnes of household garbage a year. I have also heard about an incident related to this problem in the news, that a cow was suffering in pain and when taken to the vet and operated , they found that 20 kg – 45 pounds – of plastic was found in the cow’s stomach as it had been eating from the garbage thrown in the plots and streets its whole life. There are a few serious impacts like this due to careless garbage disposal.
(My second question about opinions and values also covered in this answer , so to the next question )
Question : Did you take any measures regarding the problem?
Answer : Yes, I have taken photos and submitted it to the newspaper agencies to create awareness and apart from that I have also participated in beach cleanups that happen frequently.
Question : How do you think this problem can be solved?
Answer : I think this problem can be solved by creating awareness in the community by using photos and posters to avoid more garbage being thrown on the roads and the request the local panchayat to appoint people to clean the garbage in our neighborhood. We could also create awareness by posting photos and articles written about this topic in the newspapers and magazines , so that people will be aware of it and organizations might take action.
So basically for finding out the solution, my first interviewee thought that it would be best if the waste was segerated at home itself and collected by 2 seperate bins of degradable and non-degradable waste, where as my second interviewee ( expert ) explained a whole process which included tiying up the waste properly and disposing it, create awareness or educate the people in our community about this problem, hold community meetings and collect money to appoint workers to clean the community regularly , request the corporation to collect the garbage on time , and request for more dustbins and bigger ones.
My third interviewee thought that the main aspect of managing this problem would be to create awareness in various possible ways and by posting articles in the social media and newspapers so that organizations might take action.
This is my karthavyam story, hope you enjoyed it.