July 22: We all create garbage. Every day we throw away armloads of things that we don’t need. Wrappers, leftovers, car parts, torn cloth, vegetable remains and mounds of other such stuff. What we throw away at home is domestic garbage. There’s much more that factories throw away. Garbage from factories is often very dangerous, because it could be poisonous chemicals, or plastics that choke the earth. The result of all this throwing away is that garbage levels around the world are rising, and fast. So fast that soon we will have no place left where we can throw our junk away.
So what do we do?
We could follow the example of Punjab. This state is converting its garbage and solid waste into electricity.
North India’s non-chemical solid waste-management plant will run in Jalandhar from the end of year 2000. Simply put, this plant will convert tonnes of garbage to create waste-based fuel. This fuel will be used to power a medium-sized thermal unit. The plant will also supply fuel to the three cities of Ludhiana, Amritsar and Jalandhar. At least that’s what State Local Government Minister Balramji Das Tandon, said a few days ago, to The Asian Age.
Besides generating electricity, the waste will also be broken up. And its useful elements will be converted into a high-quality fertiliser for farming purposes. Moreover, opening these plants will require manpower to run them. Which means more jobs for the local youth.
The Minister added that by the end of 2001, his government is also planning to clean up river Sutlej. Sutlej is Punjab’s largest river and is extremely polluted. The government plans to clean up the parts of it that flow through Ludhiana, Phagwara, Phillaur and Jalandhar. The government is calling the plan the Sutlej ( river ) Action Plan.
This only goes to show that we all can think up equally imaginative ways to dispose off our garbage. It helps if we remember that what is garbage today, was of use to us only yesterday.