Friday, May 11, 2012

Police in India go Green

Welcome to Thiruvananthapuram, India. Photo courtesy: Bernard Oh/CC BY-ND 2.0

Fines for not recycling, and other punitive measures designed to encourage less wasteful behavior, have lead some people in the States to complain about the "green police" — a popular (if mostly inaccurate) meme that even became an Audi ad for the superbowl.

It is always amazing to me that those who live in such a properous society manage to complain the loudest about having to take even the tiniest measure to safeguard that prosperity; or, to share with others less fortunate. Coincidentally, it was an intentionally-poor man who taught the world about passive resistance; sustainability; and responsible management of resources. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (or Mahatma Gandhi as he is more commonly known) said: "Be the change you want to see in the world." And, once again, change seems to be originating in India.

In Thiruvananthapuram, India, people aren't just talking about the "green police", they're talking about the compost police.

But rather than simply enforcing the recycling habits of others, IBN Live reports that every city police station is itself being asked to compost in an effort to cut waste:
All the 20 police stations in the city limits will soon set up waste composting units following an order of the city police chief two months ago. And the Medical College police station has already set up a waste composting unit which became operational a month ago, setting an example for other police stations.
As is often the case, these moves have been born out of necessity as waste management has become a serious issue in the city. But it's nice to see that a crisis can indeed be turned into an opportunity, and — much like the NYPD's high profile purchase of hybrid patrol cars — it's a useful reminder that law enforcement can do more than simply mandate change in others.

Leading by example has a lot to be said for it.

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