Reining in residue

The currently accepted figure of seven plus billion human beings hosted by planet earth, respectfully projected as mother, taken along with the second related figure of the annual addition to this mass, namely 85 million, while noting that the world’s total headcount was only one billion in 1800 and expected to touch 10 billion at the end of next decade have tended to engage only the demographers while the figures ought to ring the bell loud in the minds of those who have the intelligence and wherewithal to think and cause action to arrest the steady climb of the above-mentioned numbers for reasons not necessary to elaborate. The expression that mother earth has everything to meet all the needs of her wards but not their greed has not served to slow down the pace of life in terms of drawing upon the natural resources which has clearly exceeded break-neck level. The overuse of fossil fuels to sustain the present pace has only been extensively debated in the circles of cognoscenti while no perceptible corrective measure is evident in any country. The powers-that-be in India’s successive governments too have talked about issues of resource-residue connect superficially.

The line between necessities and luxuries, which used to be thick and clear until not too long ago, has virtually disappeared in our times. Tribal communities inhabiting Andaman and Nicobar Islands were reported (years ago) to have keenly guarded against hurting nature in their daily life by limiting the use of natural resources to barely meet their necessities of life, unlike the rest of the world. There are no reports about they emulating the world outside.

While the point of which is that number of human beings beyond which the earth cannot possibly bear is frightening to imagine, the other point nearer home, namely what options are there to deal with the residue (familiar to all as garbage or waste) being generated every day, if not every hour, particularly by the steadily rising numbers of urban residents across the country is no less worrisome. The figures of residue in cities with residents numbering between one million and 20 million are presently mentioned in hundreds of tonnes, and for the country in thousands of tonnes while the figure for the entire earth is in astronomical proportions and counting. Conjointly with the mass of residue is the feature of cluttering every kind of space, such as roads (by automobiles), atmosphere (by flying machines), outer space (by satellites) and mountain ranges (by debris left behind by climbers).

Dealing with residue being societal enterprise, with the provision for virtually having a massive and never-in-short-supply of raw material, community support holds the key to sustaining and profitability of enterprise. The Bengaluru-based set up Citizengage has come out with a mechanism for processing residue involving waste collectors and business establishments. Mysuru will do well to go Bengaluru this way unlike in all other ways.

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