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Garbage Reality Check

Garbage is unpleasant for everyone. It is dirty, foul smelling but one that we cannot avoid. As long as humans breathe and live, garbage wastage is always going to be there. And therefore the issue of garbage disposal and management is so very important to our lives, more so if we want to live a healthy and hygienic life. And so if garbage is an everyday issue the question is whether the public and the government should be doing more to find ways to manage this problem. Are we investing enough to create necessary infrastructure or explore the available technology? In fact more needs to be done by our policy makers, scientists, engineers, doctors etc to pool in ideas and come up with some viable solution to the garbage problem in our local context. The government or the concern department can facilitate such initiatives towards problem solving. Take for instance the related topic of sanitation, which is also an unpleasant subject to address. However a philanthropist like Bill Gates has been trying to encourage people to ‘reinvent the toilet’. Recently a solar powered toilet that breaks down water and human waste into hydrogen gas for use in fuel cells has won first prize in a competition for next-generation toilets to improve sanitation in the developing world. The “Reinvent the Toilet” challenge has been set by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. So you see we have to be always alert to the possibilities of new solution to old problems.
Recently the State Capital Kohima has been in the news for all the wrong reasons—garbage. Apparently there is no place to collect the piling waste that is generated every day. According to media reports, this is owing to a number of factors like, lack of space, pollution and landownership problem. Strangely, the Kohima Municipal Council issued a public appeal telling citizens of the State Capital to “minimize the generation of waste and garbage”. But just how is this possible? According to a survey taken a few years back by the ‘Pollution Control Board’, Kohima alone produces 45-50 metric tons of waste in a day. This number would be higher now with increasing population. Coming to the commercial hub of Dimapur, it produces around 90 metric tons of garbage in a day. The answer therefore lies not in minimizing garbage but revamping the entire garbage disposal system in our urban towns and centres.
In fact if our government was better adept, this should not have arisen. It shows the kind of complacency that has crept into our system. It is not surprising therefore that despite the several crores of public money that would have poured in during the last few decades there is no quality service to show for it. We need to emulate people like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation who are also putting lot of money into some of our HIV/AIDS health programmes which is benefiting the Nagas.  They are also spending money on research and technology for the 2.6 billion people around the world who don't have access to modern sanitation. We on the other hand are not utilizing the money we have for the common good. It’s time we start investing in waste management and bringing in appropriate technology. This will contribute towards cleanliness, hygiene, health, energy conservation and sustainable development.

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