Thursday, April 7, 2011

a load of rubbish

One thing that has depressed me about every single 'developing' country that I have been to so far is the amount of rubbish. Everywhere. 

It's not that kind of pollution in the air that you can't see and can easily forget or ignore. It's the kind of pollution that someone has to make the decision to throw on the ground. They see it on the ground. And then it stays there. For days and months and years because it's not designed to decompose. One can throw their can on the ground near the path they walk to the bus, and without human intervention, it will stay there so long as the wind allows it. Forever. 

You can see it, sitting in grotesque piles beside children walking to school. It is en masse and it has been normalised. It is a part of life so ingrained to be indistinguishable from the rest of their daily landscape. So horrible that the stench will fill your nostrils almost making you gag until it is at least out of sight. The local people do not seem to notice the smell though, undoubtedly they have grown up with such scenery. 

A reoccuring theme of such environmental destruction, is that the amalgamations of garbage tend to appear where there is a flow of water. The idea being, of course, that this river bed or brooke or stream is some kind of god-given trash compactor and when a big rain comes everything is cleaned. Everything is cleaned ready to start again. There is no precious thought-time put aside to consider where all the crap flows to. People inland don't give a shit about the ocean, and neither do those living on the coast. 

Local wildlife is practically non-exists in areas of China where humans are. A combination of over-hunting, lack of water and pollution and poisoning. Animals? Who care about animals?
No-one. At all.

I can tell you that if you give a damn about the planet it's damn upsetting. China should not be my responsibility, and it shouldn't be yours either unless you live there. But it's not that simple anymore. We live on the same earth, and the earth that they are messing about with is also ours.

We can't afford to forget the power we have as individuals and consumers and change-makers. The power each individual has to litter and pollute and consume is balanced by the potential for massive positive change.

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