For many years now, various plastic items have been in use for different purposes and under different conditions. These items are light in weight, cheap and some can be reused, if handled properly. These items are popular on account of these characteristics of plastic. With lot of ingenuity, many different uses have been found successfully. This is the positive side. But there is a very big negative side viz, plastic is non-biodegradable. It cannot be destroyed. Plastic carry bags have been in use for a long time and they are very thin, very light and very strong to sustain weight. But their use is mostly on single use basis. These carry bags or similar plastic bags are normally thrown by the people here and there, get carried by wind here and there. They also choke the outlets, drains etc., if they happen to reach there and due to their being impervious to water, a blockage is created and spillage of sewage water etc. takes place. These bags and other waste items, reach waste depots(collection poimts), where these bags get accumulated along with many other items. Many cows inadvertently eat these plastic bags also, along with food wastes and other items. Many cows have died due to this reason, since on post mortem of some cows, huge number of such bags, have been recovered from their stomach. This is a very tragic situation. In the past, efforts to ban uses of such items of plastic, have not been successful. For this purpose, cooperation of the general public is required to be sought. Also coordinated research has to be undertaken at higher level so that we can find a method by which the plastic can become bio-degradable and then the problem will reduce considerably.
Another alarming situation is said to be due to the use of plastic for making artificial rice, cabbage, namkeen Bikaneri sev and some other items. The general public is unable to verify and differentiate natural supply from the artificial supply and the damage to health of all of us is going on. We must jointly correct this situation, by changing the attitude and mindset of the people. We should find alternatives to use of plastic items and bring strong legislation to counter the strong urge to use plastic items. People at all levels, including in schools and colleges, must be made aware and conscious of proper waste management esp. for plastic. If there are plastic items which are large and can be reused, they may be allowed as a special case for the time being. The alternatives to plastic must be clearly spelled out and advised for use. Appropriate directives have also to be given to the producers of such plastic items.
It is a fact that some young children are born with some exceptional memories, qualities and traits right from their birth onwards. In some cases, the child remembers the happenings of his earlier life, places where he had lived and/or visited, special qualities which he possessed in his earlier life and some of which he may be possessing even now. Such qualities are generally observed in the initial stages of the life of the children and if their parents, teachers and other well-wishers have the time and the inclination to observe and follow up, the same may get developed exceptionally well, in those children. The onus in such cases is on the parents and teachers to identify, highlight such talents and give them encouragement, motivation and prominence to build further on the initial foundation received at the time of the birth. Thus it is accepted that there are some such cases, and that we must promote the observed talents suitably. However, their percentage is not very high.
But there is another matter. Can we say that a child knows about everything authentically, at that young age? Asking the children and to say that we must accept what they say for everything, appears to be a bit too far-fetched. If and when we may ask them about their choices and opinion for everything, it is possible that they may just give their views without any basis. It is like someone asking me about something which I do not know. Even then normally I may say something. Then questions like this may also arise. Even if a child wants or likes a thing which we consider as harmful or hazardous for him, should we give him. If he likes a thing too much and after eating a substantial quantity already, he wants still more, should we discourage him? Further since as a parent, we may know that the child likes a particular item, should we give it to him on our own? Should we as a parent not utilize our knowledge and experience about adverse effects of some items and condition our child accordingly and ensure his safety. Should we take that our child knows everything and we know nothing. Does it not amount to putting lot of stress on the young child? The duty of the parent is to guide the child properly, with his knowledge and experience and the inclinations of the child as observed and get them changed, if necessary, especially when the conditions are harmful and/or hazardous. It is felt that all this should be done in the overall interest of the child, and not considered in an isolated manner.
Programmes of the Government for Social Security benefits, should guarantee arranging of adequate resources for food and shelter and promotion of health, welfare & well-being as per the resources of the State and the organizations, for every eligible member of the society especially for children, elderly, sick, handicapped, unemployed, retired but not having pension benefits and poor etc. They should continue to get some minimum amount of funds to carry on their lives and develop themselves with dignity, as a welfare scheme. Many of the persons/employees/workers, especially at the lower rung, suffer, due to unemployment or inadequate flow of funds, after retirement, whereas their expenditure is increasing due to illnesses, family commitments, inflation etc. Social Security benefits should be considered as a sort of Social insurance, so that all such persons/employees/workers and their families, do not suffer.
From time to time this subject has been discussed and the requirements pointed out through the representatives of Trade unions organizations, Employer’s organizations, Industry Associations, Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Labour Law Consultants and other officials and organizations. The requirement is for its universal application especially for all eligible persons/employees/workers etc., with no exemptions of any type, to avoid any types of abuse of the exemptions. The provisions should continue to improve their lives. Also no contribution should be taken from any of such persons/employees/workers (whether from organized or un-organized sector) and there should be no exploitation and also no corruption of any type. There should be frequent inspections, to protect such persons/employees/workers etc. from exploitation by employers, agencies and others. The various Social Security provisions, definitions, titles of the dealing offices and the officers and other relevant matters should be easy to understand by normal persons and fully clear, with no confusion. All the schemes must be run through the State only, which should make effective provisions for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness & disablement etc., so that eligible persons are not deprived of any benefits. However, it must be carefully examined, as to how, and for which specific category of persons, this type of schemes can be implemented, considering the financial resources which can be made available for this purpose.
Whenever, some task/work is assigned to an individual or a company, meeting the quality, cost and time requirements are most important, but equally important are the safety considerations. But one seemingly innocuous thing, which is also essential from the safety point of view, is removal of all waste and left over materials from the site, after completion of the work and leaving the place clean. Even during pendency of the work, the storage of the required materials should be such that it not unsafe for anybody. While this type of work goes on, we are also engaged in our normal routine works, either fully or partly. This is more relevant for civil works, like construction and patch work repairs of roads, new building constructions, repairs to buildings on small or large scale, shops, bridges, culverts, fly overs etc. When Govt. contracts are concluded for this type of work, generally the work of leaving the place free of any debris and left over materials etc. is included in the contract. But in many cases the contractor does not bother and does not take it seriously. There have been many accidents on account of this type of negligence/carelessness. Recently in a colony, patch up repair of the roads was being done, on piecemeal basis. On one side of the repaired and opened road, substantial quantity of gravel (bajri) was left by the contractor. The children of one of the residents was going by cycle later in the evening, after it became dark, and his cycle skidded, he fell down, he was badly injured. His parents had to take him to the Hospital and he required six stitches for his injured leg. Fortunately he did not suffer head injury. In another incident, a family had a very bad case. A young person was planning to get married in next 4 months or so, and while going on one of his routine travels in the late hours his motor cycle hit against ballast (gitti) accumulated on one side of the main road, near one of the houses for repairs. He fell down very badly. But he suffered head injury in spite of helmet used by him. He was rushed to the Hospital, but after a few days he died. It was a very sad incident. In another case, in front of the entrance of one of the houses, where such repairs were carried out, the left over material, though in a small quantity, had accumulated into a solid heap and acted as a serious obstruction. It was not removed, in spite of numerous requests and had to be removed by the occupant of the house, under his own arrangements. There have been several accidents due to such carelessness, in workshops, boiler houses, electrical installations, storage godowns etc. Hence safety considerations must be uppermost in all endeavours and all preventive measures must be taken seriously. But this measure of insisting on storing required materials considering the safety parameters, and leaving the work place clean after the work completion, must be followed very rigorously, under all circumstances and for everybody.
No one can deny that we should all be careful about matters connected with our health. For a good life, our health should be good. With good environment, chances of our infection would be very less. Infection can take place at home and outside, from various sources, due to environment & people etc. More the chances of meeting the people, more are the chances of infection. Infection takes place when we come in contact with people closely. If we are sick or we come in contact with a sick person, we are likely to transfer or get germs or bacteria, so that sickness further spreads. Hand shake is an important carrier for such transfer of germs. If we use infected hands for rubbing our eyes or touching our face, these are likely to be further affected. Sometimes, we participate in seminars, conferences & lectures etc. On such occasions, we meet lot of persons & greet them with handshakes. We also deal with and come in contact with paper documents, pen or pencil, mike, table, chair, cloth etc. Therefore at lunch time (or even at tea break), we should all wash our hands with soap, before taking our food. At one time, I was participating in a round table conference and the number of participants was about 70 or so. One of the topics was connected with our health, which was taken up immediately after the lunch was over. Before commencing the discussion, the learned speaker asked a question to all the participants, as to how many persons had washed their hands with soap, before taking the lunch. To my surprise, 30% said that they washed their hands with soap water, another 30 % said that they had washed their hands with plain water and the rest did not do anything and proceeded for lunch straightaway. The importance of personal hygiene was thus highlighted to everyone in a clear manner. Our hygiene being thus dependent on our hands, we should increase awareness about this point in the society. On my part, whenever I get an opportunity, I do pass on an appropriate message to the people.
I had the good fortune of visiting, the then West Germany and several other nearby countries of Europe, during the year 1975. During this period on one of the week ends, I along with my friends visited one ice skating rink. There were many persons including young children, practising and performing pleasant and even hazardous acts, to the entertainment of the persons present. I got excited and motivated to participate in this sport. I was very eager, since during my 2 years stay at Shimla, I had learnt this game on an ice skating rink, along with several of my friends. We had also participated in a fancy dress competition on this rink. This was a good experience. With this in mind, I almost decided to arrange the kit and take part in Ice skating, since I got a chance to do so after a long time. Then suddenly I remembered the words of my father that before taking any final decision, just consider the matter once more. On this reconsideration, I realized that I was in a foreign country participating in a programme and if some accident/incident/untoward happening happened and I had a fall in the rink, things will be too bad. So I controlled my desires & emotions and enjoyed the performance of other experts playing at that time and did not get upset due to my decision of not participating in this event. This participation might have given me good feelings, but good that better sense prevailed and I did not participate in this event and thereafter, completed my stay in Germany satisfactorily. We can learn from this episode that we should not jump to conclusions, take well thought out decisions, considering relevant factors, with a cool mind.