Till few days back I was under the impression that global warming is the most important, threatening, looming large environmental issue. With the mercury reaching record low in our beloved city I was trying to impress all around me about the imminent threat from global warming and resultant climate change but alas everything went for a toss after reading the Scoop the Poop story in Ahmedabad Mirror. Of course I was a bit late to read the story that appeared a few days back and I blame it on my frequent disappearance from the beloved city. Yes, the most important, environmental and hygiene issue of our times is the unwanted thing coming out from the pets, especially the pet dogs, though I am not sure about whether it is really a life threatening issue.
As an environment educator I have been spearheading the concept of “clean India” since close to three decades or so, much before our Prime Minister announced it as a national priority. Luckily, even the prime minister is now out with a broom, might be a borrowed one from his own rivals, to clean the entire country and I have no choice but to join his dustbin. (You may read bandwagon), and of course I appreciate the helplessness of AM also, somehow one has to be there, in the dustbin, on the bandwagon. So let me appreciate the wonderful idea of scoop the poop and think how many pet dogs do that in the street, on the pavement, in gardens and how many of the street smart dogs do it in designated toilets and if they miss the designated toilets how many of the enlightened citizens collect it and deposit in the invisible vaults of our beloved municipal corporation.
Please don’t read me wrong, I know that poop in a public place is a problem, whether it comes out of a dog, a cow (however holy she is), a dark and huge buffalo, or a tiny cat and let’s not forget us humans. Believe me, it is a problem at our own home also, that is the only reason we have a designated place to do that, a toilet. Now if you remind me that very close to half of the Indian population do it in open and have no access to a designated hole, how can I talk about the poop of my dog? If you come out with statistics and claim that India hast the largest number of people who defecate in open in the whole world, I will not fight with you, because I also know that it is the fact. It is obviously a matter of pride for all of us in Gujarat that our PM, in his previous incarnation as our Chief Minister, has already instructed us to make toilets instead of temples. I had endorsed the idea by all means, because I believe that the population of Gods never increases, unless you count our own Asaram and Satpal of Haryana as gods. But unfortunately people are happy making more temples, even on the roadside, than toilets.
Ahmedabad is by all means an animal friendly city; you would be delighted to come across a herd of healthy buffalos or cows having a gala time on the road that is meant for motorists. They also bless us with a good quantity of dung that may cause accident to few, those who fail to consult their horoscope, (sorry no pun intended to highly respected HRD minister Dr. Smruti Irani ). I expect at least one of the entrepreneurs of Ahmedabad to take it up as a challenge to turn the cow dung (I did not say holy shit) as organic manure and brand it. Of course whoever takes that challenge would be asked to prove the organic content of the dung, as we all know that the cows in Ahmedabad eat plastic waste most of the time.
By the way, I was prompted to write this because while on a walk with my pet dog, who is trained to do that unholy action only on garbage heaps (available a plenty), a lady with all winter armaments stopped and asked me “can’t you see that he is doing it in public, what are you doing?” I politely asked, Madam, it seems that you had read the Ahmedabad Mirror. She smiled, I smiled, and probably my dog also had a smile on his face.
December 17, 2014
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