Earth Day, sometimes referred as Mother Earth Day is one of the most significant environmental events celebrated by humanity on 22 April 2011, since Gaylord Nelson, a US senator first called for attention towards environmental degradation in 1970. The fundamental message being conveyed on this day in around 175 nation-states is ‘show some regard to fragile earth’.
The mindless adventurism undertaken by humans in the name of development is subtly eating away the vitality of our earth. From depletion of ozone protection, melting away of ice reserves and its underlying cause global warming, turning dead of fresh water bodies, exhaustion of ground water, air and soil pollution, the mother earth has been bruised by endless human desires to the point of its exhaustion.
Like rest of the world rallies, awareness programmes, workshops and other events aimed at creating a sense of responsibility among the populace were organized in the Jammu and Kashmir including the Valley. Placards were raised, pledges were taken, speeches were delivered and benchmarks were identified for the preservation of our part of earth. However it is beyond the press handouts issued by various organs of the government, NGO’s and some educational institutions, nothing moves substantially. The case in point is the ban on the use of polythene bags ordered by the government on June 18, 2008.
In spite of repeated claims made by government, the fact remains that polythene bags are being used freely in markets, mohallas, towns and villages. From grocery stores to vegetable shops to garment selling outlets, use and sale of polythene bags is taking place under the nose of concerned law enforcement agencies. Wholesale dealers of polythene bags around Batamaloo bus stand never respected the ban issued in public interest and in fact it proved a boon for these people, who nearly tripled the prices polythene carry-bags and these outlets are running in broad day light and the concerned government agencies including municipal authorities and police are seemingly sleeping over the matter.
In a single sweeping step, the government, had it been seriously concerned over the degradation, the use of polythene bags has caused especially the water bodies, could have strictly banned the entry of polythene bags in the state from other states; the polythene making units within the state should have been barred from undertaking such activity.
Pledges taken on events like Earth day needs to be realized through affirmative action at governmental as well as societal levels. The government and the civil society should synergise their efforts in making the ban on polythene a success, to save our part of the earth from this monster.