Published: February 12th 2006February 12th 2006
This probably won't come as much of a surprize but India is very polluted. The streets are full of rubbish, there are open sewers and people 'relieve themselves' just about everywhere. I was thinking that the government should do something about this (there are no bins anywhere for example) but I got to thinking that the government have a lot more urgent issues to deal with before they can get to cleaning up the streets. For one thing there are so many familes living on the streets who don't have anywhere to sleep not to mind somewhere to put their rubbish.
There is also so much noise pollution. The sound of auto-rickshaws, motorcycles, cars and trucks is constant and there is the incessant beeping of horns. There are people everywhere so there is non-stop people noise and this together with the sounds of animals, trains and music mean that there is never quiet a moment. Maybe noise pollution is not the right term for it - it is just a fact of life in India.
Perhaps the worst pollution of all, certainly from our perspective, is the air pollution. The petol/diesel fumes in the air combine with the constant smell of burning (people burn rubbish everywhere) and the smells of the aforementioned 'relieving' is just about everywhere. Varanasi in particular was so toxic it was hard to walk the streets. Travel is by rickshaw or auto-rickshaw (tuc tuc), so you can't escape it. In some places there are more pleasant smells of incense, spices or food cooking, so it's not all bad :-)
I should say that I'm observing this purely from the indian cities I've been to and I'm sure it would be different if we went outside the cities. Unfortunately we won't get a chance to do so this trip.