Garbage

The tiny guest house (just three rooms I think) where I’m staying is set in a lovely location by a mountain brook, which seems to be unpolluted enough to allow fishing. The guest house itself is quite smart and tidy. There’s a nice hammock on the balcony outside my room and below the balcony there’s a big ugly pile of garbage, in fact a couple of piles, which aren’t exactly piles – it looks as if they just kind of empty the garbage over the side, and maybe eventually burn it, as they so often do in India, though I don’t see any signs of previous burning.

This reminds of one time when I was on one of those lovely Greek islands in the Cyclades, when I walked out of the charming little white village along the island roads, and sauntered into the island dumping ground.

But whether garbage, particularly plastic waste is seen or unseen, there isn’t a very successful way of handling it. Lately we’ve all been waking up to the fact that most of our plastics are actually non-recycleable*. They are either shipped off to remote parts of Africa or South East Asia, or they become part of landfills. In some parts of India they are beginning to restrict the availability of one time use plastics. Mumbai has banned them completely. But as a traveler it’s a bit hard to avoid buying items like plastic bottles. I have a Lifestraw water bottle, but I’m still a bit afraid of the tap water here. I’ve begun to favor unpackaged food items, like cakes from a bakery instead of items that come nicely packaged.

*”Where does your plastic go? Global investigation reveals America’s dirty secret” (https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jun/17/recycled-plastic-america-global-crisis)