Saturday, 10 December 2011

30th November

Dad is here now! Raj and I went to pick him up from the Mumbai airport; I was dreading travelling on that expressway all week after what happened last time. It wasn't as bad as I remembered it - mainly because it was daytime so you could actually see the lorries, and there were no rogue dishwashers in the middle of it.

Photos from the car - Horn OK please?

A building in Mumbai

We didn't stop in Mumbai because the traffic was so terrible, just had a quick break in the service stations and bought some chikki, which is awesome. Dad seems to be completely fascinated by the roads here - there is complete madness. Just finished putting together a video edit for him, (I'll upload soon!) finishing up with a clip in a rickshaw.

We went around Pune today. It's strange but I think its the first time I've explored the city on foot during the day. Dad seemed quite upset by the amount of pollution and litter around, especially on (and in) Mula Mutha, the river that runs through Pune. As he works in protecting the environment, he explained to me the process - they were attempting to oxegenate the water by running it through fast flowing concrete structures, but right at the end of the structure there were people dyeing their clothes in it, and the water coming out he described as already being 'dead'.

There's an operation to clean up the Ganges starting in the next few years that will bring fresh water to millions of Indian people, but what is needed more desperately is specific education - so many people need to be respectfully educated so they can work together to protect their water sources for long periods of time.

There is also a conflict with religious practice and conservation efforts. India is predicted to overtake China as the most densely populated country by 2030, and it is deemed highly respectful in some religions if your cremated remains are thrown into a river, the most sacred being the Ganges. There is no way that western people can barge into a country and tell the population to discontinue a practice that has been holy for over 2500 years, but what else is an option in this kind of situation?

It seems too much money in India is going into the pockets of already rich, incredibly corrupt officials, and not into the health services and clean up operations that people really need. When I told my friends about the NHS in England they were totally amazed. They said, "We pay high taxes but have no idea what they are spent on".

This experience has opened my eyes a lot ; so many people in our country don't realise how lucky they are. We complain all day about how our neighbours dog was barking too loudly when there are children here starving to death.

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