For those not fortunate enough to get the luxury of a car. Don’t be surprised or pleased if you feel a bleak watery shower while riding your scooter. Happy? No, this is not rain water, a relief from the exhausting heat in Raipur. Say, thanks to the person driving just ahead of you. You are graced with the special Gutkha (Tobacco) shower. Such is the creativity of people, that they spit while driving. Result - a very annoying guthka spray on your face and an ugly modern art on the road.
The Bunch of Fools started its ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ in November 2014. Ever since, we have done a cleanliness drive in more than 90 spots of Raipur. At each spot there was a different kind of garbage. Somewhere organic matter, plastic, papers and glass at other places. But, there was one common waste in all of these places. TOBACCO wrappers! Out of 100 pieces of small-sized garbage, there are 90 tobacco pouches
Each time I saw this, it left me ashamed of the agony we are inflicting on our own health.
There has always been a misconception that chewable Tobacco is consumed by lower strata of the society. But that’s just a myth. People from all classes in India chew tobacco as an addiction. The statistics and my personal realization point to a dangerous cognizance. More than 30% of men and women over 15 years of age consume tobacco daily.
The so called ‘educated’ people of our society also don’t acknowledge the ill effects it has on our health. Moreover, they spit their shameful habit on the face of mother earth. Walls, plants, roads, elevators, staircases! You can find Guthka stains everywhere. Some people, in fact, pull down the windows of their car to spit on the road with great pride.
About 2,500 people die every day from oral cancer in India. Concerned about your own city? 50 tons of Guthka garbage is generated monthly in Raipur.
Guthka is a virtual poison and is more harmful than other forms of tobacco. Oral cancer is the most deadly disease caused by Guthka. The heavy amount of magnesium and calcium salts in it can also lead to heart attacks and infertility. Other harmful effects includes - nervous system disorders, liver and kidney diseases and psychological disorders.
Chewing tobacco is equivalent to adopting for oral cancer voluntarily. It’s time we take our own, our family’s and environment’s responsibility to give up any form of tobacco chewing.
Satish Bhuwalka is the director of Easy travels. He is the frontman of ‘Bunch of Fools’, a group of more than 100 youngsters, who do cleanliness drives and street arts with social messages across the city. Inspiring many, his work has been recognized across the country and bagged an appreciation from Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi.