Stray Cows; From 'Mata' to 'Menace'
A news story says ‘80 kg of polyethene waste was removed from a cow’s stomach after 3-hour long operation’, highlighting the disastrous impact plastic bags can have on the health of stray animals that often eat out of garbage bins. This incident took place in Bihar, one of the major milk producers of the country and according to statistics, 8,288 tonnes of milk have been produced in the year 2015-16 from Bihar itself.
This not only invokes concerns regarding health, but also the enormity of pollution as well as the need for a proper waste management system across the country. To be precise, more than 15,342 tonnes of plastic waste is generated in India every day, of which 6,000 tonnes remain uncollected and littered. As per a report of a Task Force constituted by erstwhile Planning Commission in 2014, 62 million tonnes of municipal solid waste was generated annually in urban areas.
This scenario of improper management of waste pinpoints the shortfall of the policies like ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ implemented by the government so far. Though awareness among the public has been made on a large scale, recycling or proper waste management has not been done yet as it was expected to be.
Cows being the nucleus of political battles in India, we have witnessed enough uproar for ‘Gau Raksha’ and “Aadhar cards for cows”. Above all, cows are worshipped as a mother figure by Hindus who make up more than 900 million of the country’s 1.3 billion population. But when it comes to those stray cows, which eat from the garbage bins and from other public places where these trashes are littered, the need to protect them seems to be badly neglected and least talked about.
In most large cities, owners typically allow their cattle to graze freely; most can be seen around garbage bins, only rounding them up at milking time. This indicates the harm which comes with the milk produced by these cows and its venomous effect on the milk as well as on the consumers. Appropriate remedial measures have to be taken to manage the plastics as it is highly affecting the eco-system as well as the existence of the society. Rather than discussing things, actions must be carried out by the government to tackle such issues.