Saturday, February 2, 2013


The overwhelming first impression of India is trash -- everywhere.

Mostly what strikes me is how indestructive 20th (and 21st) Century trash is. Plant matter and natural fibers derived from plants will decompose -- you can compost vegetation, paper, and fabrics from natural fibers. Animal waste is a bit more permanent -- bones can last for millennia and hair for centuries. Ceramics will shatter and crumble and eventually return to the sand and clay they came from. But plastic is forever. Plastic bags (or rather the shreds of plastic bags) are everywhere and in every form of debris -- from piles of trash to cattle dung. Cattle and other animals consume the plastic as they "graze" along the roads. Plastic is filling the world -- and it's not pretty. Plastic trash may be most visible in the developing world, but it definitely a world-wide problem.