According to a constantly streaming street sign in New Delhi that changes as you watch, India’s current population stands at about 1.15 billion people with new births recorded at the rate of about one every four seconds. I believe the sign is a result of a population control effort. Think about it. A new baby popping out at that rate! That means a lot of trash is going down all over India, no pun intended.
On my first visit to India, I noticed people didn’t generate a lot of trash, due in part to the fact there was little or no fast foods to wrap and carry home, and street foods were wrapped in old newspapers. Many, perhaps most, families were still buying their produce daily from vendors who carted their wares from door to door, and thus required no special packaging. I remember being mighty impressed the first time I went shopping for eggs in Delhi. We purchased half-a-dozen eggs and brought them home–miraculously intact–in a small plastic bag, much like purchasing goldfish in a dime store here in the U.S. Running out of milk meant walking to a coin-inserted vending container around the street corner in the neighborhood, carrying our own vessel to fill. Refrigerators were a relatively new convenience and usually small, and because foods were purchased in small quantities to be consumed the same day, there was no great need for one.
That was then (1980) and this is now! Fast foods have made it to India, big time. . . ! And along with them have come the plastic wrappers, paper napkins, cups and plastic utensils associated with it. Admittedly I would be hard put to prove my point with this photograph below. It was the only photo I found in my collection that showed any trash–even though it’s hard to see (curbside)–since I wasn’t focusing on the subject of trash at the time–but India does have a trash problem. Take my word for it. Trash is everywhere.
That said, we set about just enjoying the adventure. I confess, however, that I couldn’t help thinking wistfully about the impressive trash cans I saw all over Peru a couple of years ago, and did manage to snap these two pictures in Agra (home of the Taj Mahal). Where there are historical monuments, there will be tourists. Hence the need for trash collection. It’s a beginning.
Other than that, we thought no more about trash problems.
UNTIL later on when we were sitting at the airport gate in Trivandrum waiting for our flight to Mumbai.
Since she’d be leaving in a couple of days for her home in Pittsburgh, ML and I were having a coke break while we daydreamed about what we missed most about the U.S. Iced tea, Starbucks, and chocolate, not necessarily in that order. She did manage to find good old American candy bars available, however, in the snack shop.
Making change for purchases in rupees is apparently a problem as a rupee (about 2½¢ in U.S. currency) is even less popular there than our pennies are here. In lieu of 5 rupees, she was offered candy worth that much when the vendor couldn’t provide five rupees in change. Since she only wanted one candy herself, she gave the extra bar to me. Since we’d both been chocolate starved for so long, we pretty much funneled them down and licked our fingers afterward.
Then we were faced with a conumdrum. Looking around for trash cans, we discovered there were NONE to be found. Lacking a better solution–yet hesitant to drop trash on the floor–I thought there might possibly be a container inside the refreshment kiosk. That would make sense, wouldn’t it? Hummmmm . . . why not look to see?
Wa La! 🙂 Hubby did a three-point shot into the kiosk while sitting in the chair. Trash problem solved!