Guwahati, Monday, January 05, 2015
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Garbage disposal under cloud at kite festival
Staff Reporter

 GUWAHATI, Jan 4 – Guwahati city welcomed the New Year in pomp and style and many residents chose to celebrate the occasion to the accompaniment of the sky, river, wind, colourful kites, sand, 3D illusions, cycling, telescopes, robotics, music, traditional food, wish lamps and much more that were in abundance on the bank of the river. What was also very much perceptible was the presence of street children who were using discarded pesticide cans to roll up the strings that are used to fly kites, stealing their own joyful moments at the Jeevan Kite and River Festival, Uzan Bazar.

These underprivileged boys were using such cans as the traditional bamboo and wooden stick was beyond their means.

“Some of the children who were the volunteer ‘local experts’ helping the visitors string the kites and fly them, were using discarded pesticide cans collected from local garbage bins and were using them to wind up the manja. Collecting the cans from the bins, some of them still half-filled, the little children were puncturing them and emptying them at a nearby lane for later use. This sight simply raises some important questions again: is the city disposing of the hazardous wastes responsibly? If the pesticide cans are reaching the hands of these little children and they are playing with them, who is to blame?” asked Biswajit De, founder president of WildRoots.

The matter, which was observed by members of WildRoots, a city-based organisation which is working with Biodiversity Awareness & Conservation Education and has been addressing environmental issues for quite some time, is reflective of the lackadaisical attitude of the citizens towards environment protection. “We requested the children not to use the pesticide cans and found out that these children were unable to buy the manja because they didn’t have any money. The children were helping the visitors to the festival that comprised of adults and children, both voluntarily and in exchange of a meager amount of Rs 5. We bought for 10 of them a set of manja each. Such a wonderful festival where everyone was enjoying, it wouldn’t have been nice if this small but important issue remained unnoticed and was not addressed responsibly,” said De.

De further said that this should be an eye-opener for all responsible citizens of this city and hazardous waste products should be disposed properly. “Almost all of the pesticide cans have instructions for proper disposal printed on them and they should not be just thrown away here and there. We are in the New Year and we should spare some thoughts for our daily actions to realise our dreams of making this city greener”, said De.

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