“You cannot get through a single day
without having an impact on the world around you.
What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide
what kind of difference you want to make.”
Recent changes in council regulations in the United Kingdom, designed to save money, resulted in unprecedented numbers of fly-tipping in this country. Unscrupulous builders leave a van or lorry load of building rubbish (often including whole baths, sinks, etc) on the pathways to private land, often close to people’s houses. The nationwide cost of clearing the mess was recently estimated by the Local Government Association as reaching over £1 million a week. Some time ago, Dr Raziq wrote to me about his weekly clearing of the part of the desert close to the camel milk farm, where he is a veterinary director, and usually over 10kg of rubbish is collected. Last week’s post of one of my readers galvanised me into action. I am so impressed by this young man, not yet out of school, that I am going to quote his post word for word and picture by picture. As long as such young people exist, the future of Earth is not lost.
The disgrace of fly-tipping across the UK
This is from the blog of Sudarshan Paliwal, the impressive young man whom I mentioned at the beginning:
Hello everyone, I hope you are well and doing great.
I want to ask one question to myself and to everyone: Why are we making Earth full of garbage? We can see in cities or villages the waste or garbage on the roadside, or near railway tracks, public places, and many more. Some of them don’t throw the waste in the dustbin, they throw it directly on the road or many other places. Some of the cities are very clean because the people of that city are very supportive, they don’t throw the waste everywhere.
If you don’t see a dustbin nearby you, just keep the waste in your pocket but don’t throw it anywhere. Many diseases take place if we live in dirty places.
In the village I saw, once the drain is made, they never come and clean it and people also ignore that; what happens then is that the water of the drains comes out onto the road.
Drain water on the road
So please be supportive and make your city, town, or village neat and clean.
We do and we only struggle.
As you can see in the above image, this is how small kids react towards garbage. So, therefore I request, please know your responsibilities towards the nature of your living place.
And here is the latest example we found of pollution in the River Ganges:
Here are a recent post and pictures from the blog of Dr Raziq.
The desert that Dr Raziq would walk in before it was polluted.
Plastic is one of the hazardous products of the modern era, scattered everywhere, from mountains to the seabed. Deserts are also full of plastic pollution. When the plastic is in the form of bottles, bags etc, it harms plants and retards their growth and germination. With time, plastic breaks into small pieces, becoming more dangerous and hazardous, especially for livestock. The so-called decomposable plastic is even more dangerous in my view. It gets shattered over a broad surface, usually accumulating under bushes, and ultimately makes its way into a camel’s or other livestock’s gut.
Once a week, I go to the desert, spend some hours collecting plastic and throw it in nearby waste bins. During such exercise, I almost always collect up to 10 kg of waste, mostly bottles and other plastic. I collect it in plastic bags and share the photographs on my social media to give two lessons to people:
1. to not throw plastic except in the wastebin
2. to collect some waste from the desert whenever you visit the desert and dispose of it appropriately
Map showing course of River Nile
Volunteers clearing plastic pollution on the River Nile
The biggest problem the Nile is facing now is horrendous plastic pollution. If possible, everyone should watch the documentary ‘The Plastic Nile.’ Reporter Alex Crawford writes: ‘Today, thousands of years after the pyramids were built along it, the river is still the life spring for millions. But for how long?’ Her documentary reveals that the Nile has reached a crisis point with a devastating impact potentially around the globe. ‘Every year the Nile dumps 80,000 tonnes of plastic into the Mediterranean, and that affects our future.’ writes Alex. ‘It is an environmental catastrophe. … Some waterways were so clogged up, you couldn’t see there was water underneath.’ When finally Alex reaches the point where the Nile runs into the sea, she can see that there is plastic everywhere. ‘We in the West think we’re doing our bit, but we need to see the bigger picture. We need international collaboration, urgently. People need to realise what’s going on.’
The Nile will die if nothing is done now.
Less than one year on, this is what is still happening in Egypt and on the Nile:
And this is my antidote to the horrific pictures just shown.
An article in the Clinical Medicine Journal of the Royal College of Physicians, written by Sir Richard Thompson, highlighted the increasing evidence that plants, green spaces, and gardening benefit mental and physical health. The author referred to a Japanese study that found that looking at plants alters electrocardiogram readings (which check the electrical activity of the heart), improves mood, and reduces pulse rate, muscle tension, and blood pressure. One of the commentators, a doctor, wrote: “I cannot think of any drug taken in isolation that could achieve this.” He added: “Spending time among nature can be transformative.”
As I wrote before, my garden is the best therapist there is. Perhaps with one exception – the Himalayas. But with the pandemic raging, I might never have a chance to see the moon above the mountains or walk in the invigorating, pure air of its forests. Or just sit quietly and admire the spectacular view of nature’s magnificent splendour.
When I think of paradise it starts with my garden, some images of which are shown below. No matter how turbulent is the daily news or how stressful my daily life can be, just a few minutes into my work take the stress away as if a heavy coat has slipped off my shoulders. It is a form of meditation but I don’t need to empty my head of thoughts, I just focus on what is to be done to make my plants, living creatures, happy. The plaque on my garden wall carries the Roman maxim: “Who plants a garden, plants happiness.”
Who can look at the abomination of the piles of rubbish and disagree?
The most famous rose in the word, called ‘Peace’, created after the Second World War
Here are some books which you may find of interest and encouragement to help do your bit in tackling this horrific plague.