Friday, March 20, 2009

Sight-n-smell of our open-ness

Ours is an open society. We are unashamedly open in doing things - such as dumping garbage,and peeing in very public places.
Doesn't It look more like a garbage dump that doubles up as a bus stand? The picture, taken from an inter-city bus on way from Trichy to Salem, reflects our collective indifference to public hygine. Littering trash on public space appears socially acceptable.

So does urinating in public. I didn't have the nerve to photograph what I witnessed people doing on a busy roadside close to the main bus station in Trichy. Of course one doesn't have to come all the way to Trichy for such sight and stench of Incredible India. Pay-and-use facilities are no solution. They may well be part of the problem in some places.

At Srirangam I found an open stretch with tell-tale stains,right next to a pay-and-use facility. Which charges Rs.2 for a go. The message is clear. It is social statement by those who can't or won't pay for it.
Public notice threatening offenders with a fine of Rs.100 is widely ignored.I heard local residents saying the notice was put up at the instance of the contractor who has taken the pay-and-use on lease from the municipal corporation. Local traders, auto-drivers, hawkers and beggers milling around the temple evidently find better uses for their two rupees. Besides, they have yet to get used to the idea of having to pay for it, not Rs.2 at any rate.

Surely,the temple management can afford to spend part of their hefty earnings from 'hundi' collections on a free and properly manned public conveniences. Outsourcing them to contractors may make business sense for the municipal authorities. It doesn't serve the interests of the people; nor does it promote upkeep of public hygine.

Meanwhile, I came across a blog post in GreenLivingTips making a case for doing it outside, but in the privacy of your garden. It saves water; it's organic fertilizer, containing nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. They have a website promoting the idea; and even designated a Pee Outside Day - April 19.

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