Just a few miles from Delhi’s famous Akshardham temple, where tourists flock to see the structure's sandstone and marble work, the 70-acre Ghazipur landfill in east Delhi seems a world apart. Each day hundreds of mainly migrant workers earn a meager living at the landfill by collecting recyclable materials.
While the first depicts the glorious achievement of their predecessors through marvelous architecture and different works of art, the other poses a stark contrast by showing the reality of the present. It is a constant reminder of what we have ignored in our attempts to consume more & more in the name of development & growth.
It is the alarm clock that most of us choose to put off each day. It shows the failure of western models of growth, which were blindly adopted by the policy makers of the developing countries, leading to haphazard development & massive rise of superfluous consumerism.
While India’s vast knowledge of the past taught the world how to get rid of unnecessary desires, it’s present generation seems to have been struggling for a way to responsibly manage the country’s ever increasing amount of trash, born out of a desire to consume more & more. Rapid population growth, disorganization of city’s municipal authorities, a lack of public awareness and limited funding for programs are the factors which is making it even more serious.
Without a proper system of waste management & recycling, the waste ends up in landfills like Ghazipur. They have become mountains of trash, which is only increasing day by day. Burning and landfilling waste releases greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide from incinerators and methane from landfills, that are significant contributors to global climate change. Landfills are the largest global source of human-created methane emissions, a toxic climate-changing gas that is 25 to 72 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
It seems in the modern age, we have mistaken the idea of growth for an increased rate of comfort & luxury without paying any attention to sustenance. We forgot that in our race to consume more & more we are also producing more waste. Not only many people are consuming too much, but also some people lack access to basic necessities. In developing countries around the world this inequality in the levels of consumption is too high. Our enormously productive economy demand that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and the use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction in consumption.