Oceans – all blue tranquil waters, soothing breeze, endless stretches of sand and waves chasing each other. And a horde of people armed with buckets and mugs, clearing the oil spill. The recent incident at Chennai’s beaches, when two ships collided and dumped their cargo into the Marina, we were actually surprised. We. The people who have the sole proprietary right to dump used plastic bottles, dinner plates, garlands, idols and everything that has lost favour with us, into the seas.
How could two ships dump their cargo into the sea? So, yes, we went in droves to clear the spill, with our restroom buckets. We love joining hands for a common cause as important as the ‘Jallikattu’. Are the farmers committing suicide in thousands? Bah…it is their fate. Ours is a strange country where cows matter, and suicides find an obituary in the last page.
The fish we buy at the local market has been eating so much plastic that when we eat the fish, all we can feel is the plastic entering our guts. We term the conservationists who organise meetings and try to bring awareness about marine environment as ‘silly’, and keep munching on our mercury poisoned fish curry. So long as we get fish from the seas, all is well with the oceans. Ask a Bengali and he would give his life for a ‘machhi’, only next to his di! We once had miles and miles of mangrove forests along the coast that protected us from calamities of the sea. All we have now is a vast emptiness, after mining every inch of sand for thorium, of course. The beach sand is the next valuable commodity after the sand inside the human skull, which proves our craniums are located elsewhere. We, the organised looters, love scraping every bit of charm and life and call ourselves the ‘protectors’ of this Earth. The Indian Ocean tsunami taught us all a valuable lesson – leave the seas alone. We never learn. Our fishermen dwell so close to the sea that they brush and wash straight into the sea. The tribe of fisher-folk is also on a steady decline, what is left over of the tribe are those hapless souls that escaped the firing across the international border, who are now sitting ducks…oops, fishing ducks. As the lives in the oceans dry up, eventually these people lose their livelihood, which is already threatened by our ‘consumerism’ and freebies overdose.
Scientists and environmentalists have been steadily warning us of the depletion of oxygen in the oceans, and just as we took the climate change threat postulates as dark humour, we treat this warning as a crude joke. The warnings have become so incessant that they are more frequent than our house help’s vacations. At the drop of a hat, we get a climate change warning. Doomsday churches predicting the end of world mint more money than our poor environmentalists. The words environmentalist and conservationist don’t find a place in our book of professions. What environmentalist? What saving the world? Have you gone nuts, beta? Take up engineering…computers, get paid in dollars! Eat KFC, big Mac. Yo! That’s the way the world works. The marine life of our country is unique. The corals, the pearls…duh…do I sound like a jewellry connoisseur? Gone are the days we fished for pearls. We now ‘cultivate’ ‘fresh water’ pearls. As for corals, the effluents we let out into the sea have bleached them all white. Bleach us all white, I say!
Our oceans have been subject to decades of abuse and misuse. It is high time we realise the necessity of our fish fingers and fish n’chips in our fast-food dining, and for the sake of our poor fish, let us vow to save the oceans. For, there is no bigger gift that we can give our children than nature’s bounty. Let us not rob them off their Goan vacations and fish curry!