March 10th, 2016
“It was December 26, and my friends and I had just arrived in Gokarna, a famous weekend getaway for Bangaloreans. We decided to spend our day on Kudle beach as it was less crowded there.
The next morning, we came out for a stroll on the beach. We were shocked to see the amount of trash littering the area. Water bottles, alcohol bottles, plastic bags, cigarette butts and what not! It was disgusting, and pretty much heart breaking. We criticized the government, and kept on walking, after reacting in the most common and convenient way without doing anything ourselves. My friend then headed back to the room, while I continued the stroll. As I approached the end of the beach, something caught my attention. Two foreigners, a woman and a man, with big plastic bags in their hands, were picking up trash at the beach. At first, I thought they might be cleaning up after their party, but soon I realised that was not the case. So, I went to talk to them and the girl introduced herself as Lucy, from Belgium.
“I came out for a run in the morning and found the beach extremely dirty. I thought to myself, I don’t want to spend my New Years surrounded by the garbage. So, I will clean it”, she said. I felt ashamed at once. None of us had thought that way, we just blamed the government, and took the easy way out. This realization moved me, and so, I joined her and we managed to clean the beach in about two hours. A lot of people appreciated what we were doing and a handful joined in as well. By the time we were done, there were six of us. This shows what change a small initiative can bring about. Travelers coming in later that day appreciated how clean the beach was.
Later, we realized that littering was not the only issue, people not taking any initiative to resolve this issue, was part of the problem. The whole stretch of beach has around 15 cafés, and many housing facilities, but not a single dumpster. This leads to littering. When there are so many awareness campaigns going on about cleanliness, witnessing a major tourist spot turning into a dumping ground, was quite a shock. Some of the people around the area were telling us that what we were doing was a waste of time, and that we should rather enjoy our trip. A few cafés even refused to give out bags to dispose of the trash.
We can’t blame the government for everything. After all, it’s not always about our rights, we should focus on our duties as well. It is our duty as citizens to ensure that we set a good example by not littering. Business owners should also be taking some responsibility. If the cafés that cover the entire stretch would just clean the area around their place at least, and keep a dustbin outside, the problem would be smaller than it presently is. So, here was an incident where a small group of people brought about changes, and it all started with one person. Thank you Lucy, for taking the first step.”
Submitted By – Aditya Chaturvedi
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