This article is a heartfelt attempt to get across the message to readers – there are wonderful things we can learn from the West to enhance our ‘well-being’. Most certainly, that discounts some undesirables which the youth in India these days mistake as signs of ‘development’. One such wonderful thing is the way the European countries handle their solid wastes – not just at the institutional level but even down to the domestic levels. (See photographs from Norway and the Czech Republic which accompany the text) Yes, there is no ‘one size fits all’, and everything that is good for the West, may not be so for Indians. But writing off anything and everything truly wonderful, that demands concerted efforts, time and patience as not suitable to the Indian context is nothing but laziness.
Waste management and well-being
There was the Industrial Revolution in Europe, followed by the Automobile Revolution in the early-to-mid 20th century. The Green and White ones followed after that in the Asian countries. The IT and telecom revolution has transformed lifestyles in the last two decades. After having nourished ourselves with the bounties of Mother Earth, it is time to give back, be grateful and conserve the ‘Gaia’ who has nurtured life over the years. Worshipping the Earth as a goddess may be pagan, but it entails something more than paeans and songs, flowers and rituals. For holistic well-being, man needs to have harmonious relations with not just his fellow-humans, but also the environment as a whole – for what he does to the air, water and soil, affects him in the longer run! Solid waste engineering and management has gained prominence as a field of engineering in many parts of the world. The First World has surged ahead with the ‘translation from the drawing board to the street’ but countries like India are still lagging behind…woefully.