We revel in the beauty of the world around us; we make flimsy attempts to capture a scene, a view, not only because of the view itself but for the intensity of that moment as well. Iconic destinations, mountains, rivers, valleys, and the sea— the world around us simply gives out an energy so enthralling and overwhelming that we feel the need to encapsulate that reverence.
I am reminded of the last time I was on the sea, a year ago at Koh Larn, Thailand. I remember watching the harbor of the island steadily disappear from the horizon. I remember the feeling of being homesick knowing that in a couple of hours, I would be back into finding my way through the chaos of city life, after all, I had called the islands home for more than half my life. Photographs, videos, and journals; I used all of the tools I had with me to freeze time. I needed to be able to one day look back and recall the beauty that surrounded me for days.
It started with one— the other half of a pair of slippers, floating around. In the next 10 minutes, there were different clusters of plastics, soda cans, empty bottles – plastic and glass – there was a shirt, coconut shells and some other floating objects my brain could not identify. About 6 seats away from me were a company of tourists singing and dancing with their new friends and across me, a family of 5 with parents trying to calm their little ones. Cameras were flashing everywhere capturing both the deep blue of the sea and the masses of rubbish floating on it, but no one seemed to mind.
I am not entirely sure what was worse, seeing the ocean become home to trash or seeing how unfazed people were towards the destruction of something by nature, pure. However, maybe this is how it was supposed to be. Maybe generations from now, nature in all her indecipherable splendor is meant to be replaced by what seems like garbage today. If so, let us destroy it together.
The size of the garbage does not matter; we will start with one person and one garbage at a time. Take your pick: a candy wrapper, a cigarette butt, a juice box, or a lollipop stick and toss it out in your favorite spot. Do it every day, once a day. Invite your friends to do the same – every day, once a day. While traveling, forget about disposing your water bottles in a trashcan, anyway, littering is the objective, isn’t it? Throw them anywhere you want to! In fact, throw them into the closest river and let the tide take them somewhere else. Starting a “Let’s Litter!” campaign might be a good idea too! Social media is a good way to get the message across, in a few seconds; the campaign would have reached thousands of people. Imagine if thousands of us were throwing waste around without a care? Moreover, when you see garbage around, do not pick it up. This is how we kill a view.
In a few months time, you’ll be traveling to Nepal and you’ll find yourself standing in front of the beautiful Himalayas, home to the highest peak of the world, glorious in all her grandeur and grace. She is the dream of thousands, conquered by few and a mystery to many. She is clothed in white snow, luscious greeneries and rubbish— yes, rubbish. The Himalayas have ceased to be the Himalayas. We killed it.