Tamilnadu is a garbage collector's paradise. I don't remember the streets being so full of garbage and dirt when I was growing up. Of late wherever I go, I see only plastic bags and garbages strewn around. It is not particular to any one city or town. I have seen garbage mounds in middle of the street in Chennai, Tuticorin, Sivakasi, Coimbatore - almost in every town of Tamilnadu. The roadside tea stalls don't even have a pretense of a dustbin in front of them. People just throw the plastic cups down and all this plastic invariably finds its way to some water body. Most of the rivers in Tamilnadu are being used as open sewerage by the municipalities and the people. If ever you go to Madurai, look at the banks Vaigai that was once a river. You will find it is now a garbage dump.
Is there a solution to this garbage problem? May be some one will figure out a way and there will be money to be made in Solid Waste Management. I don't know. Blaming the corporations and municipalities is a convenient solution - but the real problem is the lack of civic sense in us Tamils. Most of us keep our homes tidy and neat, put the garbage in a black plastic bag - and the maid / help takes it out everyday for us and dumps it in front of the corporation dustbin. Take any dustbin in the city - you will find more garbage outside it than in it. We don't worry about dumping garbage just outside our neigbour's door. Any empty plot of land will become a garbage dump for the neigbourhood.
I have wanted to write this post for a long time. Was struggling for the right words to write about it . And then I read this poem by Devadevan
குமட்டிக் கொண்டு வருகிறது
வீதியை அசுத்தப் படுத்திவிட்டு
அந்தக் குற்றவுணர்வே இல்லாமல்
ஜம்மென்று வீற்றிருக்கும் இவ்வீடுகளின்
சுத்தமும் நேர்த்தியும் அழகும் படோடபமும் காண்கையில்