India Is Dirty And It Makes Us Angry & Sad

 

Throwing away trash on the ground has to be one of the worst habits Indian people have and I hate it! In some places, I bet you could fill a whole truck with waste from within a 100 yard radius. It’s just outrageous and sad. 

And it’s not just in the big cities. Everywhere we’ve been in India, there’s the same problem. Countless times we’ve seen all sorts of people throwing their waste wherever they like. Uneducated people, educated people, rich and poor, old and young. They don’t think twice about it...

 Random river in Chennai. Sadly, we've seen far worse than this...

Random river in Chennai. Sadly, we've seen far worse than this...

On Trains

Inside the trains there are no trash cans or any staff to pick up and/or collect waste. You can imagine the consequences.... There is a constant parade of food and chai (tea) vendors and all the wrappings and paper cups get automatically thrown out onto the rails, some stay inside under and around the seats. To my surprise I’ve found myself  only once having a stare-off with a cockroach that disappeared when the train started moving.

Joris: “On our first train ride in India, I got scolded by Joanna because after I had my chai, the person sitting in front of us told me to throw my paper cup out the window... I got caught off guard by the insisting man and I threw it out. Right after my eyes met with Joanna’s disapproving and surprised stare followed by: “did you really just do what I think you did?” Oh boy... I was in trouble. It didn’t take me long to realise though, that what I did was wrong.”

In Train Stations

At most train stations though, there are sufficient trash cans but some of it ends up on the rails anyway. Surprisingly, train stations are some of the cleanest places in India. We HAVE seen a very good effort from Indian Railways picking up trash and cleaning the floors.

On Buses

In buses, wrappings and small papers dance around in the wind. Most of them end up in the streets... Plastic bottles get chucked out of the window just like that... We really start to get mad and annoyed by this attitude.

On Boats

On a boat, whether it’s a river or the sea, most people choose the water and not the trash can a few yards away to dispose of their waste. Pure laziness! 

 "Holy" cows end up eating trash.

"Holy" cows end up eating trash.


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In The Streets

Walking around in India is stressful enough with all the cars, buses, motorcycles and rickshaws (a sort of motor powered tricycle with a roof). Too much traffic, honking,  fumes, the occasional animal droppings, crowds and heat. Add the trash and -in a lot of cities- subtract the sidewalks... total madness!

To all Indian people

You’re destroying the country you fought so hard for... do something about it and don't blame poor people because everybody does it! We’ve seen beautiful landscapes and epic temples and palaces, we’ve met amazing, interesting people, had some great food and yet one of the first things in our minds when we think about India, is how much trash we saw everywhere. 

We haven’t seen anything like this -in such a large scale- in any other country we’ve visited. And it’s not just the land but the rivers, the lakes, the sea. The indifference in which they treat the environment and public spaces is the hardest part to watch. Along the way, we’ve seen warning signs saying littering is forbidden and will be fined, others say “keep India clean!”, but those signs are surrounded by trash. Do the people read “it’s ok to throw your trash here” instead?

One time, a guard from the Jantar Mantar observatory in Delhi asked us to dispose our entry ticket in the trash on our way out. So, the government knows about it. It’s a good effort but it’s not enough.

 At a camel safari, all the empty water bottles got blown away and we feared the guides would leave them behind so we started to collect them. Fortunately, they also collected every last bit of trash.

At a camel safari, all the empty water bottles got blown away and we feared the guides would leave them behind so we started to collect them. Fortunately, they also collected every last bit of trash.

India is known (amongst other things) for its bustling cities, rich culture and it’s spicy delicious food. Unfortunately, it’s also known to be dirty... We only hope that the government makes a better effort to educate people regarding the environment. There are some trash cans and warning signs in certain places (we’ve seen them in train stations and around landmarks) but most people ignore them. 

If you ever visit India, please hold on to your waste and always dispose of it properly. Even if you think it doesn’t make a difference in this vast country with millions of people, be an example because that does make a difference!

Let us know what you think in the comments. We would especially like to hear more opinions from Indians themselves...

 

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IndiaJoanna Winter