We absolutely love sticking posters, labels, writing crap on any sort of public property, and making a general mess of what we have. A few years ago, there was a bit of public outrage because Coke and Pepsi were alleged to have commissioned wall paintings in the Gangotri area of the Himalayan range, thereby upsetting the delicate eco-balance of the region, and possibly killing many micro organisms. Like any public outrage, this died down quickly, and soon life was back to normal. There were no lessons to be drawn, no strictures put up on how to behave in public places, and it would appear as if the incident had never happened.
This incident came to the public eye, because the acts were perpetrated by multi national companies, those awful, awful icons of greedy capitalism. The fact that we all seem to have conveniently forgotten, is that all of us, in our daily lives, throw garbage on the street, thereby spreading disease. Garbage on the street looks ugly as well. Yet, we are proud of our freedom to throw garbage on the street, and I have been guilty of this myself.
We Indians are really very bad with public property. My Chinese brethren are not too great either. Yet, when I travelled to Jiu Zhai Gou in China, there were public signs everywhere exhorting people not to touch the calcite deposits, or to walk in the forest. The authorities had made paths for people to walk on. Transport in the area was via electrically powered buses. All this was done, is being done, to preserve the environment of the area. I think that this is a superb initiative. What I found even more impressive (and, I travelled there during the crowded holiday season), was that all my Chinese friends respected the strictures, and not one person was found littering, walking in the forests, touching the calcite deposits, or sticking posters on the rocks. There was respect for the instructions, and for the environment.
I don't believe that this is something that is at all difficult. But, we need to start somewhere. The lead does need to come to the top.