Today is Amavasai – New Moon day , considered auspicious by many. Anjalai from Mylapore is busier than usual. She paints pumpkins for sale. These pumpkins are ‘broken’ at homes and business premises to ward off evil and bring good luck .
While a pumpkin sells for 60 to 80 rupees Anjalai gets an additional 40 or 50 rupees for her painted ones.
While the awareness about pollution and its prevention are gaining momentum, the same can not be said of e-waste and its hazards. There are efforts in the unorganized sector to reuse and recover. However, these are harmful to the workers and the environment.
I was happy to note that there are organized initiatives from the private sector to manage e-waste. At a seminar which I chaired sometime ago, one of them even presented me a memento plated with gold recovered from PCB’s!
The picture of the baby doll among e-waste is from a wayside market in Pallavaram, Chennai.
Meet Syed Ali Badsha at the Friday Sandhai at Pallavaram. Badsha sells floor mats made from hosiery waste. He has started early (7 am) and spread his ware for the customers. He procures the goods from Tiruppur and nearby areas and sells at half the supermarket prices.
Every Friday morning hoards of traders assemble on a road at Pallavaram for the weekly sandhai. They sell everything from ‘pin to elephant’. This is a stand selling cheap electronic watches.
Once upon a time, “foreign goods” were available only at Burma Bazaar or Kasi Chetty Street. With such goods permeating even street markets in far-off places could be a sign of democratization of ‘foreign goods”.