Narendra Modi-led NDA government has been focusing on cleanliness and has been running several ‘abhiyans’ to clean the country. Several politicians and other prominent personalities have been seen wielding brooms on streets. But apart from various initiatives, India still remains the dirtiest country in the world, said Nilima Sinha in a column in the Indian Express today – she is the author of fiction books for children. She says that there is no such campaign in any other country in the world, yet they are still far cleaner than villages and cities in India. Nilima highlighted the secret behind the mystery of the cleaner cities in the world. According to her, the rubbish from roads and surroundings do not vanish magically overnight but it is the discipline that is installed in the minds of the people from an early age that helps maintain cleanliness in a country. Here are some points to ponder:
• While signs like “Do not litter” may be there in many public places in India and children in our schools may be told to throw waste into dustbins, yet this has not become the clarion call of our leaders. So campaign against ‘dirtying’ should be run more efficiently.
• Sweeping and cleaning are bound to only one person and it only becomes ‘his job’. People throw plastic bottles and paper on the road, anywhere and everywhere. The author says that drains along roads act like public dustbins and that is where people deposit waste, no matter if the drain gets blocked or choked and the dirty water overflows.
• People keep their homes pure and clean where puja is performed, no matter if the brooms direct the dust and other impure matter straight onto the street in front of homes, Nilima added.
According to her, “Gandagi nahi failayenge!” (No dumping of litter!) should be the slogan that must ring out across the country. She added, “Kachra idhar udhar nahi daalenge!” should be the slogan, and not the one being made popular today. Also, taking a cue from Germany, the author said that in Germany almost 50 years ago, it was a crime to throw anything outside the home in Bonn. China ended its citizens’ habit of spitting on streets a long time ago, she said.
The focus in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, in short, should not be on the cleaning up of an already dirty space but in the prevention of any public spot from becoming dirty. She also said that there should be a rule that everyone should keep public spaces around their homes, shops or other establishments clean and free of litter and this will automatically lead to cleaner cities and healthier and happier citizens, she concluded.