Each year, the world celebrates the World Environment Day on every 5th of June. The total money spent all over the world put together to celebrate ‘just’ one day for ‘Environment’ will certainly be in millions of dollars, if not a billion dollar. And then what?

For the next 364 days, the world will forget everything about the environment, except a few dedicated souls. However, day-in and day-out, ragpickers of the whole world never rest to clean the environment of toxic waste. Have you ever put a thought about this small, but highly ‘significant’ contributions of all the ragpickers of the world, who clean the earth, so as to feed themselves daily?

This editorial post is my sincere “Tribute to all “THE RAGPICKERS” of the WORLD on World Environment Day. I had written this piece way back in 2010 on the World Environment Day – the 5th of June. Now that I have a global platform of my own, I wish to enlighten everyone around the world. Please show compassion the next time you come across a ragpicker(s). Show them the kind respect to keep our Planet cleaner and safer to a large extent by cleaning all the filth we throw around without any thoughts or sensibility.

The Real Environmentalists

We often look at them with disgust because of their dirty clothes and smell oozing bodies… however, if they were not part of the solar system, our world would have been under the heaps of waste plastic bottles and other unwanted things long time ago. On the World Environment Day, this post is my tribute to all the rag-pickers, who clean all our unwanted wastes to earn a meagre sum of money after scavenging all day long in hot sun, chilly winters and rainy days in the dirtiest place of the earth to save the earth.

Have you ever thought how they have balanced the environment without really knowing how to pronounce the word or else know the meaning of the buzz word in the world scenario? It is the hunger in their stomach and their poor condition of living that has made them to selfishly (they do it to earn some money for the next meal they can have, so I termed them as selfish) clean all the garbage that we so-called educated throw without a single thought about spoiling the environment. Isn’t it strange that people who are educated, are actually endangering the environment by splurging on their comforts, while uneducated poor people are the ones, who are protecting the environment while earning money out of the wastes?

There are global conventions where in billions of dollars are spent for the comfort of the official representatives from various countries, ironical though, we will never spent money on the real people who are cleansing all the wastes from the world, just because they are poor. The difference between them and us is simple… while we will talk big and do nothing, they say nothing but do everything. Action speaks louder than the words – this quote aptly describes the two sides of human’s callousness.

Show your Appreciation and Compassion for their Hard Work

A mere 10 minutes power cut in metros makes everyone swear the government for the inefficiency, ironically, a 12 to 14 hours power cut in rural India is silently taken in stride with a smile to get accustomed in every day’s life. While the villages of India contribute the bigger chunk or percentage to save environment, sadly once again, they are never even mentioned anywhere for their efforts and contributions, while in cities, there will be Tom, Dick and Harry shouting aloud buying the media to say how they have saved the environment by bragging doing such and such thing or else switched-off lights for one hour for just one day in 365 days and then they claim they have saved the world…

These rag-pickers are not at all helped or supported by respective government or environmental bodies. While their significant effort, which has such a big impact on environment, goes unnoticed by one and all, they are not even provided with protective gears to spend 8 to 10 hours in toxic wastelands. On top of all that, their service doesn’t even get any pay hike or support from the government. Instead we look at them with disgust, little forgetting that it is because of them we are enjoying a better environment. Hats off to all the rag-pickers in the world, who are doing what we educated fellows can never even think of doing to save environment! It is truly a boon and a curse to be born poor but it is the poor who always plays an important part to make lives better for everyone!

Time we wake up from our deep slumber, because it is already too late!


Feature Photo: Kathi Richards

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