My Travels in India: Sustainability Abroad
By Malika Kumar. Malika is a sophomore majoring in Human Biology.

December 31, 2011 7:53 pm

This is the first in a series of posts describing Malika’s encounters with sustainability during her travels in India

“Tires” by Malika Kumar

“Tires” shows a boat pulling into a harbor at Mumbai’s southern tip. You’ll notice that the sides are lined with scratched-up tires – all of the boats in the bay looked that way! I originally thought the tires were some form of life-rings, but soon observed that the ferrymen actually use the tires as shock absorbers to protect the side of the boat from hitting the harbor walls. This arrangement seemed to me like a beautifully simple solution; plenty of tires go wasted year after year because though the rest of the tire is strong, the treads are worn. And on the flipside, the ferrymen don’t have the resources to be perpetually fixing such habitual damages to their boats. In this way, the ferrymen are able to extend the life of their boats and extend the life of tires past their expiry on the road. Though this system is more likely motivated by economic incentives than a concern for sustainability, it certainly prevents landfills from filling up with tires and old boat parts through the simple idea of reuse.


“Malika Kumar is a sophomore at Stanford University, studying Human Biology. She is interested in medicine, surgery, and global health, and has a passion for studying sustainability in international cultural contexts. Her photography documents instances of sustainable living in Mumbai, Cochin, and Delhi during her trip to India in December 2011.”