If you have a problem, fix it. But train yourself not to worry, worry fixes nothing. - Ernest Hemingway

Monday, 8 July 2013

An environmentalist or an enemy of the people?

Santanu Dasgupta

One evening while taking a stroll, I came upon a daab or tender-coconut seller. He was winding up his business for the day. Seeing so many tender coconuts, I felt thirsty and he agreed to cut open the last one for the day. I sipped it with the straw he gave me and continued on my stroll.

About ten minutes later I walked back the same way and saw the daab seller picking up straws that lay strewn all over the place.

‘Now, that’s a man who loves his environment’, I murmured to myself. I felt guilty too, because just a few minutes ago, I had carelessly thrown away my used straw.  ‘He deserves my compliments’, I thought, and walked towards him.

But as I came closer I saw him packing all the used straws that he had picked up from the street back into the packet that contained the unused (?) ones. The street was clean of all plastic straws.

Now what do I take from this incident? Is the daab-seller guilty of endangering public health? Yes.

Is he to be admired for his love for Nature? Yes.

I can see a few eyebrows being raised at this point. So, for the sake of argument, look at what he is doing for our ecosystem: he clears up the plastic waste, recycles it so that more plastic need not be produced. Of course, he does all this at the cost of public health. But if we look at thinks from his perspective, he does not think maintaining hygiene as his priority or responsibility.

I walked back home confused.


  1. I don't think you should be admiring for his love of nature, because that's not why he is doing it!
    He is reducing the cost of doing business, that too illegally. So he deserves a kick in his back!

  2. I agree with Sujith but what a terrific style of writing. my salutations, Sir. :)


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