Ulrich Beck in his much-acclaimed book Risk Society: Toward a New Modernity throws light on the consequences of a wide range of hazardous and deadly risks of a highly industrialized and urbanized society. He further elaborates that modern risks are not restricted to place or time, rather these risks are ever compounding and are multiplying exponentially thereby putting the entire world on high alert. Not surprising then that the new generation represented by Greta Thunberg dares to reprimand the world leaders for being unabashedly lackadaisical in their approach to tackle environmental risks. This insincerity on the part of the respective governments of nations across the globe towards ill management of environmental risks is something that has forced young children to intervene in ringing the alarm loud and clear. Ankur Bisen’s book Wasted: The Messy Story of Sanitation in India, A Manifesto for Change, packed with information (sans tables and charts) makes it readable for all concerned global citizens.
The cover illustration of Wasted is as captivating as is the book itself. The picture of a child rag-picker on a mound of urban garbage hopping in a wanton mood, unmindful of the risk it involves, and how the garbage dumps become the treasure-troves of the doubly underprivileged, speaks volumes about ‘the messy story of sanitation in India’.