The Fate of Peepal Tree

Olivia Gurumayum *

We are experiencing the transition phase from summer to winter. The morning dew, the monsoon rain and the post monsoon season shows winter is approaching. Everyday in every paper we constantly see people, organizations and government are fighting on climate change due to its impact on many areas.

Through media and social networking sites people are spreading awareness on climate change. Simultaneously, many people are also focusing on Cleanliness. An American actor, film producer and environmentalist supporting the “Cauvery Calling” initiative posted on his Facebook page saying “India’s rivers are severely endangered with many of its smaller rivers vanishing.

An initiative has taken up aiming to plant 242 crore trees across Cauvery basin to revitalise Cauvery River. There were also initiatives taken up to clean rivers and beaches. Cleanliness and waste management are something everyone has an issue with. How far we can achieve cleanliness is still a big question. It will be a big challenge too.

However, let us look into the peepal trees that grow next to many of the gates or “leirak machin” in Manipur. The Peepal tree is believed to be a sacred fig to Indian subcontinent. It is worshipped by many in Hindu culture. The hermit, the sadhu, the sages sit under the tree for meditation.

Some people complain so much about not proper drainage system yet they do not stop their hands putting the solid waste inside the drain. Another place to pile up garbage is everyone’s favourite place, the foot of the Peepal Tree, which has become a dumping zone.

It is a place where people love to load every waste that comes from their backyard to kitchen to courtyard. They will burn down the garbage without realising there is also an electric-post next to the tree.

Or, just decorate the corner with the garbage without realising how much it is harming and polluting the environment. We talk of healthy lifestyle, pollution, climate change, levelling up the living standard, plastic ban, etc. But, when it comes to throwing solid waste every nook and corner becomes dustbin.

How to initiate cleanliness?

Habits cannot be changed overnight. I have read somewhere that it just takes 21 days to form a habit. But, consistency is the only key to win every battle. Our habit influences our environment. I alone cannot change the whole system if there is no unity and support with encouragement from my surrounding.

Likewise, one person in a locality cannot just keep cleaning his or her gate when the rest of the localities choose the foot of the peepal tree next to the gate to be the Leikai’s waste dumping zone. Rather than coming out on Gandhi Jayanti for social service and posting pictures on social networking sites it would be better to clean every morning as it will not clean our places by itself.

However, on the other hand, it is when we the public and the Municipal Council work together the city clean will clean. In other states dustbins are collected every morning and, in Manipur, it is collecting only once a week. If not every day, thrice a week would be more than enough to keep the city clean.

And, for the public, it would be better if we form a habit of keeping our surrounding clean every day and use a dustbin to put the thrashes in. At the same time, it would also be really helpful if we are teaching every child in our family to form a habit of cleanliness and teaching them the benefits of using the dustbin then throwing everything on the road while they sit inside the expensive car.

It will surely help change the city in the future, too. It would be much sensible to form a habit of throwing solid waste and kitchen thrashes in a proper place. Maintaining proper dustbin in every household will not cost more than the effects of piling up the waste in every nook and corner of every lane.

Before changing the habit it is important to change the mind-set of people that waste material has to be put inside the DUSTBIN. And, it is more important to teach and educate every child in every household that dustbin are meant for waste materials.

It is understandable that Imphal area is a congested place. But, there is nothing to be proud of being born and brought up in Imphal if we cannot maintain the main city clean. Living in the heart of the city with garbage piling up in every gate and lane is something we should be taking care of.

Half the people keep continuing the cleanliness drive and the other half think roads are meant to litter while driving expensive cars with well-kempt. Nobody forgets to dress-up perfectly for any occasions but when it comes to cleanliness they become absent minded. Even if they wear diamond studded whatever costumes walking through stinky and messed up roads is something unmatched and surely they will not like it.

Every now and then there are events conducting in Manipur inviting high profile personalities, tourists and visitors from different parts of the world to our state. Our honourable Prime Minister is known worldwide for the initiation on Swachh Bharat drive.

Manipur is also part of India. Yes, I agree that waste management and drainage system is a huge problem in India. But, it doesn’t mean that every foot of Banyan or Peepal tree should become a dumping zone for every locality.

As we cannot train the street dogs and cattles that roam around, not to litter the garbage we as a human, the highest intellectual among animal species should understand it. Nowadays, we have management of Municipal Solid Waste collection System under Imphal Municipal Corporation. Door to door solid waste clearance is done once in a week collecting a meagre amount of money from the respective consumers.

Every household can share such a system so that the daily waste can be cleared easily without causing any pollution. The roads and roadsides should not be a dumping zone. If we can expense on junk foods without any fear of health issues I am sure we all can pay to clean our localities and cities to be an exemplary of cleanliness.

It is high time that we should all change the mind-set on this. We must understand how much this garbage affects our health and environment.

Let us educate ourselves and each other to save our environment and our surroundings. And, most importantly, let us also teach our younger generations the importance of cleanliness and its benefit to our health and environment.

Let us make the city clean and green together.

* Olivia Gurumayum wrote this article for
The writer can be reached at olivguru(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was posted on November 09, 2019 .

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