Throw It Off The Window Like Its Customary!

by Tejas Nair

I am not boasting off but I try my best to find a garbage bin to discard any unwanted stuff I come across while travelling. And if you ask any of my more than 500 Facebook friends, you won’t argue. Dustbins are not in a jovial relationship with Bombay; everybody knows. But one service (or product) that has never seen a useful thing like dustbin is the Indian Railways.

Passengers throwing PET bottles, soft drink cans, canisters, food wrappers, chocolate wrappers, leftover food, diapers, polythene bags, etc. through windows/doors/commode cavities is a common sight in trains, be it local or passenger mail. I cannot fret but believe that this is an ongoing process since that first train rode through Bombay in 1853. I cannot fully throw the blame on passengers because if they see a dustbin, it behooves (at least) some of them to use it instead of yanking that wrapper off the door or window. While I am not stating the percentage of people who actually do it, I personally know a handful.

Last day I was travelling through North India with one of my kin. I was reading a journal as she casually threw an empty PET bottle through the window like it was a safe haven for bottles which would automatically incinerate or recycle it according to its type and create a new thingy from it. It had my rapt attention and when she tried to do it again with a candy wrapper, I struck her hand. “Don’t!”

“What?”

“Do not throw it off the window!”

She threw my hand back and in a swift motion, tossed the wrapper off the window. Her reply was even more insensitive. That this is what everyone does. All people throw garbage off the window. There is no other option, is there?

The question shut me up. I could have told her to keep a separate handy, carry pouch in her bag so that she can dispose of such waste in that & later throw it in her apartment’s garbage bin. But what I was more concerned of was the attitude. If everybody is doing it, why can’t we? Right!

It is not about “can,” it is about “would.” Anybody can throw garbage off train windows, but is it in your conduct that you would throw garbage off train windows? Think about it!

No one can stop this practise as it has reached to a level where there is no thought revolving around it. It is like those ancient India laws that are never touched, despite  continuous evolution of lifestyle. I don’t need to list the problems that arise off such littering, but if there is something that can reconstruct this attitude into a more constructive approach then it is self-realization. Why don’t you spare a minute of thought?

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