pic courtesy: Internet
Well, this thought is inspired by a post on Facebook. I began to think on those lines and it took me back to Late Eighties and early Nineties. Remembered how simple we lived our life and how Green it was!!!
Manja Pai (mostly printed with shop names, the ones you get for free when you purchase something at their store), the yellow coloured cloth bag used to be a standard accompaniment to most people who went out shopping. Vegetables would be purchased with another separate cloth bag, a bigger one, which in fact would be washed and reused. Oil used to be purchased with a stainless steel vessel called thookku or a 500ml Horlicks glass bottle. Most of the provisions at the Annaachchi kadai used to be packed in potlam using newspaper and sanal kayiru. If you purchased flowers, it would be packed with Vaazha Elai and naaru (Plantain leaf and the fibre from plantain stem). Food parcel in restaurants used Plantain leaves and Newspapers. You didn’t feel ashamed to carry two vessels for Sambhar and Chutney separately. Pandhi-saappadu used to be a common feature in weddings and Vaazha Elai/Plantain leaf was the standard. Water used to be served in stainless steel tumblers only. People used to walk a lot or go by bicycles to nearby places. Probably bikes and cars were not affordable for everyone then. In all these instances I have recollected, we have knowingly or unknowingly been very eco-friendly. Somewhere in between, in the name of modernization, and style, we have lost it.
How has it changed? Today, plastic bags are the choice of the society. From a normal annachchi kadai to the most posh store, plastic bags rule. We have become very lazy to carry cloth bags and it has become so convenient for us to opt for a plastic bag at the end of shopping. A few rupees more doesn’t matter is the attitude people have. Use-and-throw plastic glasses for water is another epidemic. Starting from offices, to wine shops to parties, this is being extensively used. Restaurants pack food with plastic sheets irrespective of their effect on very hot food. Plantain leaves are replaced with plastic-coated paper sheets which resemble the plantain leaf, but is not even close. All the provisions like salt, sugar, pulses, rice, and many more things are are nicely packaged in polythene packets.
Amidst all this usage of plastic, another important thing we miss today is the segregation of garbage. We do not have a concept of segregating recyclable waste and other waste. So what we discard is all together in one bag that contains leftover food and banana peel to a cardboard packing of a toy car and in fact other broken toys too.
We can do our bit by saying NO to plastic bags, something as simple as carrying a cloth bag when you go shopping. If you are so style-concious, buy fashionable printed cloth bags. There are umpteen designs available in the market. If people think it is not stylish, give a damn to their opinion. Paper-bags, paper cups, paper plates are all better alternatives to plastic. Even if it is a little expensive, it will do a world of good both to you, and the environment. Walk to nearby places and use the stairs at least twice each day.
I am definitely going to do these small things, my bit to going green again!