Highlighting the adverse effect of plastic on the health of stray animals, doctors have removed 80-kg polythene waste from a cow’s stomach at Bihar veterinary college in Patna on Wednesday. The polythene waste was removed from a six-year-old cow by professors of surgery and radiology.
“This is the first case in my 13 years of professional practice when we removed over 80 kgs of polythene waste from the stomach of a cow,” said doctor GD Singh, assistant professor of surgery and radiology who led the surgery. He said that it had taken more than three hours to finish the surgery. “The animal is recuperating and has been discharged. But in such condition, the next 10 days are very critical as the rumen microflora becomes inactive, creating a loss of appetite. Prognosis in this type of cases is grave if they are reported very late,” he added.
Dr Singh accused owners allowing their animals graze in urban areas. “People should also avoid throwing eatables in polythene bags and serious efforts should be made to spread awareness about its bad impact on the environment,” Singh said.
Deepak Kumar the owner of the animal told Hindustan Times that the cow was not eating properly and it was left free to graze in open land. He brought the cow to the hospital when it stopped eating completely.
Plastic as threat to animals
It is a common scene in most of the large cities in India where owners allow their cattle to graze freely in open land. Cows can be seen scavenging for food in open garbage bins. Almost all food wastes and garbages are disposed of in plastic bags. Cows often eat the food leftovers including the plastic.
A study conducted by Karuna Society for animals and Nature found that the problem was even more acute in urban areas. “Apart from the plastic completely choking the digestive system of the cow and causing excruciating pain to the animal, plastic residues enter the human food chain through dairy and animal products,” the report stated.
Union environment minister Harsh Vardhan on Monday said that India would host the World Environment Day 2018 with a focus on plastic pollution and this would be a beginning of the end of the plastic pollution. “For our animals too, especially cows and other animals, so much plastic is found in their stomachs it is so hard for them,” he said in September.
Not the first time
This is not the first time that an incident like this has happened. In March 2017, veterinary doctors had removed 30 kg plastic waste from the belly of a cow at Jatlapalem village, Andhra Pradesh. Doctors had also removed iron rust, flex banners bolts, screws and nails during the surgery.
In September 2016, the doctors of Jivdaya Charitable Trust in Ahmedabad had operated a cow and found 100 kg plastic waste from its stomach.
Have you ever spotted a speeding car without a care for the traffic signal? Ever spotted a person rushing to the other side of the road when the traffic light is green? Ever seen bikers use pavements as roads to save a few minutes? Ever seen cars change lanes on highways or rush hour traffic on a whim? Well, so have thousands of other Indians.
Road safety in India is a serious concern. For a country that boasts the second largest road network in the world, it is inarguable that we need to pay more attention to our safety on roads – a place where we step out every day, spend a handsome amount of our time.
The government has come up with several regulations on road safety, but is this enough? Not if awareness around the topic is still lacking.
The intention behind the initiative is to bring together lawmakers, local authorities, traffic police and citizens under one umbrella.
The cities will be rated on parameters such as Pedestrian Rights, Road Lighting and Maintenance, Motor Laws and Traffic Control, Emergency Services, Road Cleanliness, Connectivity, Road Transport Infrastructure, Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management, Road Safety, Differently abled friendly, Road Quality and Road Safety For Children.
Here are the ten cities that were chosen for Road Safety Index 2018 and the reasons that make their roads safe or unsafe:
Mumbai has facilities for the differently-abled like reservations in public transports, special train compartments, concessions on fares, etc. The city that never sleeps scored the best when it comes to citizens’ participation in making the city accepting and warm toward the differently-abled. It won the category ‘Differently-Abled Friendly’.
However, there are areas of improvement – illegal hawkers, pavements and footpaths need to be fixed or reconstructed.
Anyone who hails from the capital of West Bengal knows about its recreational parks and brightly lit streets. Its traffic police deserve special mention for redirecting rush traffic every day as Kolkata roads are narrow and many are one-way streets.
During Durga Puja, the city tries to make Pandals differently-abled friendly by installing ramps.
It won the categories – ‘Road Lighting & Maintenance’ and ‘Road Safety For Children’.
But the City of Joy needs to work more on giving its residents #HappyRoads. Issues of waterlogging and numerous street hawkers, roadside vendors in busy areas need to be solved.
There’s no one who’s been to Delhi and not praised its excellent connectivity. Delhi prides itself for broad roads, top-notch metros, pavements and foot over bridges. The national capital surely serves as an example for cities across India when it comes to road connectivity hence, it won the categories ‘Connectivity’ and ‘Road Quality’ in the Road Safety Index.
While Delhi has made many of its public places differently-abled friendly, the areas that need improvement are long hours in traffic, fixing of roads that pose a hindrance to daily commute and rash driving by bikers.
The city boasts well-marked zebra crossings, adequate footpaths for pedestrians, underground SMART dustbins, reduced encroachments. Raipur fares well in almost all parameters of road safety. It won the category of ‘Road Safety’ and ‘Pedestrian Rights’.
However, the city could do better with stricter fines for traffic violators and awareness about road safety and garbage disposal.
Other cities can take inspiration from Chennai on how to ensure good road safety. The city has wide, well-connected roads that are lit properly. It also boasts rigorous night patrolling where traffic rules violators are fined. One of the best initiatives taken by Chennai is the separate parking space on city roads that prevent traffic from accumulating. It came out on top in the category ‘Motor Laws & Traffic Control’.
Areas where Chennai needs to improve are street lighting and cleanliness.
Indore is one of the few cities that has used plastic waste for construction of roads and covered garbage disposals, which explains why the city won the ‘Road Cleanliness’ category. Indore also has adequate zebra crossings, visual signals, street lights, footpaths.
But areas where the city needs improvement are – strict action against traffic violators, public spaces more differently-abled friendly.
There is a lot to learn from the road safety measures implemented by Ahmedabad – sound medical facilities, separate lanes for local buses, special cab service for differently-abled, wide roads. Ahmedabad won in the category ‘Emergency Services’, ‘Road Transport Infrastructure’ and ‘Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management’.
If the Heritage City improves road safety awareness among citizens, it’s bound to fare even better. Better street lighting and lesser encroachments will work in favour of Ahmedabad.
The other cities shortlisted were Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad but they didn’t win any category.
Maruti Suzuki’s initiative to rank cities will encourage citizens and administration to do better and emerge on top.
The Logical Indian community wholeheartedly appreciates the various initiatives undertaken by Maruti-Suzuki in this direction. Not only the government but we, as citizens of this country, should also pledge to make our roads safe. One of the first steps towards this is that we understand our duties.
We hope the authorities take a note while we pledge to do our own bit towards happier, safer Indian roads.
For more information about the Maruti Suzuki’s initiative and the Road Safety Indexclick here.