Clean Mumbai, Green Mumbai

(Why does Ashley insist on not writing anymore…)

It has become a running joke between me and Ashley… Then also between us and my cousin Karan… The first time I saw, or at least noticed, this sign was in Delhi… “Clean Delhi, Green Delhi” It doesn’t get more fabulous than that… The fact that “going green” is a world-wide event. Event? Thing? Something… Is kind of awesome. Then in Jaipur, we saw, “Clean Jaipur, Green Jaipur”… No matter what city I’ve traveled to within this country I always see that sign. When finally landing back in Mumbai, I began to see it everywhere. The best part is, I would see this sign right next to someone who was littering out their car window. Or the sign would be glimmering next to a heap of some burning trash. But at least they’re trying… Advertising the cause is half the battle… Maybe? It is just of interest because in general I do believe Indians are conservers to some degree… Take for example the restrooms in public places and bathrooms in homes… You will not find paper goods to be utilized then thrown away. It is the standard to not have toilet paper, paper towels and trashcans in these places. They just don’t use it… Bidet-ish water faucety systems are in place instead. To the westerner this is of discomfort because it is not something one is used to… Perfectly acceptable, so, higher end places of business will indeed accommodate to this need and provide such papery. So here we go, one area where Indians don’t waste unecessarily. Next, electricity. This is a pretty big issue in every household I’ve been invited to… Each light, fan, A/C unit, kitchen appliance and plug has a switch: the normal on and off kind. As in the States, if we want to turn on the light we just click the switch to on, well, that’s how it is here. But in the States when we plug in an appliance, we just pop the cord into the socket, turn on the power button and you’re good to go. Here, you plug in your appliance. turn on the power button… But it is still not on… Until you turn the outlet’s switch to on, it won’t work because electricity is all controlled by plate. This is how they save money on electricity. It is very, very rare to find a light on in a room that is not being occupied. And it is a definite no-no to have the A/C unit running if you are not within the vicinity of the cooled air. As for hot water… You won’t find it in the kitchen or the bathroom sink. If the house is modern, it will have what they call a “gizzer” which is comparable to the U.S version of a water heater. However it is much, much smaller… It holds probably a few gallons… And you have to turn it on a few minutes before you even think about stepping foot into the shower or else it will be cold as all heck. Then of course you have to plan out your shower and use the water wisely or else, after about five minutes you’re basically screwed. I have created a system for myself… I will turn it on, water down, turn it off, soap up, turn it on, water down, turn it off, lather up the hair, turn it on, water down, turn it off, condition, turn it on… Well at this point the gizzer has caught on to my scheme and has stopped producing hot water and instead produces tepid temperatures… Sneaky. So those are a few things… However, when we go back out into the streets, with the exception of the eco-friendly slogan, it seems that the citizens don’t really care much about trashing their neighborhood. It is perfectly normal and usually acceptable for people to throw their trash onto the street… Everyone does it. I look around and see there are no trash cans… Not even in the malls or other places of business… So of course people are going to just litter wherever they please- they have not much alternative really… Solution? Installing public trash cans and a good waste management system couldn’t hurt. In general, the people here do not generate much garbage as it is, so if there were some organized system then it really would be Clean India, Green India…

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