Monday, February 1, 2016


A lower middle-class family struggling to make both ends meet has only hope of their descendants receiving good education, securing a decent job/profession and doing well, eventually. All the compromises the family makes, the loans it borrows from time to time and bargaining it is forced to do at every single transaction while living frugally is in anticipation of the fruits it will bear when the next generation will settle and rise to a higher step in the social status – middle class, to the least, if not higher middle class! Imagine what happens to the parents who struggled all the way to make their children well-to-do and those same children suffocating their parents as they grow old. Would there be any limit to the pain, grief and agony the poor souls would be put through? No tragedy known to man can match this sorrow. However, if we follow the filmy plots, there always would be somebody who (not from the close family, preferably) would enter the scene and prove its loyalty by taking care of the distressed ones.

Now consider human species around 500 to 250 years ago. In the wake of early industrialization and new trades and markets emerging all around, particularly in Europe, put the Growth and Development of Man on fast track. Discovery of new energy sources fuelled the engine of development and offered it enormous power to conceive, create and consume. It was quite obvious that new revolutionary products were required to satisfy the almost insatiable needs of all-consuming modern machine-age man. Of all the innovative products of modern age, the one that tops the list is Rubber in any form including Plastic. Man discovered rubber, employed all extreme measures to extract, process and market rubber for it was the most flexible and supposedly immortal material known to man with high level of plasticity that allowed it to be molded in any shape and form as required. Rubber was the first child of this modern man that went on to produce tyres (wheels) and containers of all sizes and shapes!

A glance through statistics about Plastic Consumption reveals the dreadful facts as –

  • Up to 20 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans each year. Plastic breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, but never goes away. Seals, dolphins, turtles and orca eat plastic – mistaking it for real food. Toxins stick to plastics; plastics are eaten by fish and then enter the food chain. These toxins, like PCBs, have been linked to reproductive failure in polar bears.
  • Plastic is durable and lightweight, but it's these properties that allow it to persist in the environment for hundreds to thousands of years. Plastics are among the most persistent synthetic materials in existence and are now a significant and extensive marine pollutant. 

These are the ‘earnings’ of the First Good Son of the Modern Man!

The second kid born to the modern man was Concrete, another revolutionary discovery that changed the course of infrastructure development history. Again, its adaptability found place in modern man’s heart as now his imagination had no boundaries and its property of ‘being rock-hard once settled’ fascinated the man as strong permanence always had been one of the major basic instinct of man right from Stone Age! With the ability to take any form and presumed endurance against all forces, concrete made it to be the first choice of man for any and every construction, including roads – the means of transportation. The complete concretization of every possible square inch of surface of earth is affecting the seepage of water that maintains/increases ground water level, not just adversely but dangerously. On the other hand, concreting requires enormous quantity of water – the basic essential natural resource required for any ecosystem to breathe – that is being scarce already and could not be produced.

Secondly, of the various ingredients used to produce a given quantity of concrete, the cement is the most energetically expensive. Even complex and efficient kilns require 3.3 to 3.6 gigajoules of energy to produce a ton of clinker and then grind it into cement. Many kilns can be fueled with difficult-to-dispose-of wastes; the most common being used tires. The extremely high temperatures and long periods of time at those temperatures allow cement kilns to burn even difficult-to-use fuels completely. Another essential ingredient of concrete is aggregate (sand-and-gravel) obtained by river mining. Excessive in-stream sand-and-gravel mining causes the degradation of rivers by lowering stream bottom, which may lead to bank erosion. In spite of these scientific statistics, there is a hustle of making concrete roads without any impact assessment, all around right from a small village to a metro. Even the rivers are ‘developed’ by massively concreting their banks and bridges and culverts.

Such are the ‘by-products’ of the Best Son of the Man!

It's high time the world learns Triple R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) instead of Tripe C (Conceive, Create, Consume). If all these facts and figures are swept under the carpet of ‘Political Will’ and developing ‘Smart Cities’, it’s high time the Republic of the Nation should wake up to its rights and responsibilities and question the intent and content of all such proposals. The first basic question could be ‘Why do we need Concrete Roads that are enemy of water and even proved to be perilous to the tyres of the vehicles, when we can have tar roads of good quality with long life and which can even use-up some plastic in the making?’   

One of the invaluably fundamental guiding principle on which I am trying to build edifice of my life has been ‘Find the Purpose, Means will follow…!’ It simply means that, as for me, Purpose is paramount and not the means. Unless and until every Public Proposal or Undertaking doesn’t find an extremely selfless, absolutely profound and impartially humane Purpose, the 'means' would be converted to 'margins' and wasted, no matter ‘for what’, ‘by whom’ or ‘how much’…? ‘The end justifies the means’ idiom doesn’t make sense for a project of larger good and without any Socially and broadly Acceptable Purpose, not the ‘Special Purpose’, it should not even be considered! However, the only way to make it happen is by PPP – Prolific Public Participation combined with SPV – Smart People’s Vision! And it only could be that loyal 'unattached' hero that becomes the solace in the films!

Philosophically, these 2 modern age inventions being extremely dear to the human species is quite obvious for their 'convenience' - an intrinsic trait found in 'civilized' man. Human today is flexible and ready to mould in any shape, size and form faster than plastic for instant gratification and personal advantage. The same human adopts the characteristics of Concrete - adaptive in formation state and rigid once shaped - when it comes to his sacred beliefs, particularly religious!

Stay tuned, take care and Be Aware! (SMART) Way to go…

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