Rain : Bringing out the dirt of Imphalites Clogged drains and nullahs
Incessant rain for the last many days and Imphal has been thoroughly ‘washed’ and ‘bathed’ and in the process one can see all the dirt and filth which had accumulated over the months being washed out. Tough to say whether the long days of being under the shower would amount to being scrubbed clean, but the days of shower has meant that water in the nullahs and khongbans is jostling for space with the plastic bottles, the shampoo sachets, the kitchen wastes and in the process flooding the leirak and leikai roads and even submerging the courtyards of quite a large number of households in every leikai. The kitchen wastes, sans the plastic carry bags, will wither away, but one wonders where the plastic wastes which emerged from the clogged nullahs and khongbans will next take refuge. The rain may washed away the uphul-waiphul and turn them into leikhom-leinangs, but be sure that they will return as dusts once the sky clears and the Sun shines in all its glory, so typical during May and June. Here again the rain water may have washed away the dust from the lanes and by lanes of the leikais and even the main roads of Imphal, but doubtful if it would have even cleansed a fraction of the mind of the people, who are proud Imphalites and not from some Khungangs. There is only so much the Government can do and there is only so much that can be expected of the Imphal Municipal Corporation to do to keep the place neat and clean, and it is primarily the mindset of the people that first needs to be cleaned. It was not so long back that the Government made a grand announcement of banning plastic carry bags which are below a certain micron of thickness. Shops selling the plastic carry bags which violated the specifications of the thickness were pulled up and for some time, inspectors had their time under the Sun, occupying good space on the pages of all the major newspapers published in Imphal. In a sense there was a certain nostalgia that could be attached to the announcement of the Government, for remember a similar drive was also conducted when there was a Congress Government here at Imphal. The drives had no impact, save for a few days, and as the past has shown, it is now back to square one for plastic carry bags never called it a day here, amply demonstrated by the incessant rain that washed every streets of Imphal and overflowed the khongbans and nullahs.
Something has to give. How long can Manipur afford to go on like this. This is a question which everyone here in Manipur start asking themselves, for what is stake here is the future of the people. Plastics and more particularly plastic carry bags are no doubt convenient and easy to use. Nothing is more convenient than to carry a kilogramme of dressed chicken, dressed fish or pork in a plastic carry bag. But remember at the same time that nothing blocks the free flow of water in the leikai khongbans more than plastic carry bags. Nothing clogs the nullah and the waterways better than plastics and here it is important not to forget that just for the convenience of today, one should not be toying with the future and the coming days. It was not always like this. Those who grew up in the 70s and 80s and even early 90s will certainly remember how a carry bag was a must whenever anyone visited the market for the day’s shopping. It was chekhao or paper bags which the shopkeeper used to wrap one’s purchase, such as a kilo of sugar or potatoes or even salt, before package salt hit the market. Sure one has to walk with the changes that time brings, but it absolutely makes no sense for the rampant use of plastic carry bags and the manner in which they are so nonchalantly disposed in the nullahs and khongbans of each and every locality. Using plastics should come with a sense of responsibility and since the people here do not seem to have developed that sense of responsibility, plastic carry bags will continue to extract its pound of flesh.