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The Mess Outside The Coldplay Concert Venue Speaks Volumes About Us

Aspiring 'Global Citizens' chucked used bottles, cups and snack wrappers on the ground.

21/11/2016 4:24 PM IST | Updated 21/11/2016 5:07 PM IST
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The photo has gone viral raising a lot of questions.

After months of waiting and rumours that you would need to sell both your kidneys to gain an entry to Coldplay's first live concert in India, it finally happened. Chris Martin came to India, played with AR Rahman and gave people a 'memory to last a lifetime'.

There was also Prime Minister Narendra Modi via a livelink, Bollywood actors Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Ayushmann Khurrana, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, industrialist Ratan Tata and international stars including Jay Z and Demi Lovato. They all performed and spoke a line or two about being a good citizen. It was, after all, Global Citizen Festival's first initiative to help catalyse India's journey towards achieving sustainable development goals by 2030 and bringing together the young with leaders from multiple sectors.

You would be forgiven for thinking that the audience gathered there -- who were cheering so loudly when Ayushmann Khurrana came on stage with a bottle of water to demonstrate how dirty it is, or when Shah Rukh Khan urged them to undertake socially beneficial actions -- were taking copious notes. However, the reality was very different.

Just outside the venue, where the talk was all about becoming a 'global' citizen and a person who will work towards making India cleaner and better, there were plenty of empty packets of chips, cans and bottles lying around.

The photo has gone viral, raising plenty of questions.

Many among the 70,000 people who attended the concert, had acquired tickets by pledging to become 'Global Citizens' -- which meant working towards 'eradicating poverty,' and promoting 'sustainable development' and 'sanitation'. The photo however tells a completely different story.

And, says a lot about us. Many of us would have loved to attend the concert of the lifetime. When the 'Global Citizens' website announced that they will give free tickets to those who completed certain actions as part of their 'Action Journey' for social change program, many people on my Facebook timeline wanted to know how to reach that reward level. They were not really concerned about 'bringing a change.'

The photograph taken outside the MMRDA ground in Mumbai reflects just that. Nobody could be bothered with civic sense or niceties such as recycling for sustainable living.

There's another story here. One that tells us how much we believe in passing the buck, all the time.

As the photograph went viral, many people sharing it blamed the organisers for the unsightly mess.

"It's pretty sad but it wasn't a well planned concert! We didn't have dustbins to dispose of the trash and they ran out of water for the 80k ppl that attended the concert!" read a comment on Facebook.

Meanwhile, many commented saying that they stayed back to help the cleaners.

"I was one of the attendees who paid for their tickets and after the festival ended, my brother, some other attendees and I sought out to pick up all the thrown bottles and trash and at least gather them in one place to help the cleaners who'd be coming later," Aman Chawla wrote in the comments section.

The organisers denied the charge that there weren't enough dustbins at the event. In fact, one of the organisers stated that the waste collected will be converted to "biogas to generate electricity or be converted to compost to be used in nurseries."

"There were separate trash cans for recyclable vs organic waste; all waste outside the bins were collected by volunteers from Swachhalay; recyclables have been sent to RaddiConnect; wet waste is being processed by Organic Recycling Systems Pvt. Ltd., and will either be converted to biogas to generate electricity or be converted to compost to be used in nurseries; all unused semi-perishable food was collected by Robin Hood Army, and distributed to underprivileged communities in different parts of Mumbai," one of the organisers, Bhavya Bishnoi, commented on the post.

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