It is no mystery, however sad, that when one thinks of India, “overpopulated” and “over polluted” are the two words that come to mind.
On 2nd October 2014, our PM, Narendra Modi fervently launched Swachh Bharat Mission, the most ambitious cleanliness campaign in Indian history, throughout length and breadth of the country.
One cannot neglect the significance of the day this mission was instigated, on the birth anniversary of the biggest votary of “Swachh Bharat”, Mahatma Gandhi.
It is quite laudable how our PM has left no stone unturned in his quest to promulgate the notion of clean India. He articulated it in all his annual speeches, held discourses with every layer of India’s vast government- from Cabinet Ministry, right down to the village panchayats. And a gamut of placards and advertisements have been circulated drawing attention to it.
However, sanitation has to become a priority for everyone, we can’t expect the government to hand out everything. If the common citizens inculcate clean hygienic habits we still have a long long way in curbing this menace.
Firstly, we, as an individual should be aware of our responsibility. Whenever a friend or an acquaintance is about to litter, we should be quick to point out, “Please throw it in the dustbin”. Or when you see some ill-mannered folk spitting on the road, immediately condemn him for doing so. Furthermore, we ourselves should not hesitate to pick up the trash and should explicitly educate people about the long-term environmental damage littering does. Make sure to carry a litter bag in your car rather than resorting to tossing litter out of the vehicle, hence, setting a precedent for others, especially children.
Secondly, by all accounts, India has an unrivalled youth demographic: 65% of its population is 35 or under, and half the country’s population of 1.25 billion people are under 25 years of age, with this surmountable youth population, a formidable research work on waste management can do wonders for the country.
Thirdly, choose a fuel-efficient vehicle to commute. Moreover, whenever possible, use public transport and more often than not, resort to carpooling.
Furthermore, whether a student or an adult, we should, on a large basis, participate in various cleanliness drives in our communities along with volunteering at NGO’s.
It is quite bizarre to see that in a country like India, prided for its modest culture, the men do not even hesitate before undoing their pants and relieving themselves brazenly in open sight (one wonders, “does the notion of India being a “modest culture” restrict to women only?”). Such men should be browbeaten into subservience, since, a peaceful approach seems to be falling on deaf ears.
Help For The Indigent
A myriad of slums across the country lacks something even as basic as a toilet which often leads to reservoirs littered with human faeces, women and children going out to defecate in open sight. We are still grappling with an abysmal issue of manual scavenging, which is still prevalent in our country. Along with the fact that the hinterlands are littered with overcrowded and overpopulated ghettos.
It seems the impoverished have been left in the lurch and stigmatised the most. Even after more than seven decades of Independence, these stories of degradation should shame us all living comfortably albeit with dreadful inequality.
We must try to raise as many funds as we can, go door-to-door, use the omnipresent social media to appeal to the people. We can also monitor and reinforce simple hygienic behaviour, educate the poverty-stricken and naive women and children of the ill-effects of open-defecation.
One should form a group among peers, bring together the residents of a community and, by facilitating discourses and interactive sessions get them to understand the health and economic consequences of defecating outside.
Building a toilet is not really a big deal for any homeowner but getting piped water supply is. So if we can arrange the piped water supply for most of the household, we can fight this very well.
Despite the eulogization from every end, there’s still a stratum of society that has branded “Swacch Bharat Abhiyan” as a mere ploy, devised to gain- votes. While it may or may not be the truth, however, if supported by the country, “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan” could have been a success. That said, all hope is not lost, it can still turn out to be an unprecedented success.
Furthermore, such schemes should transcend petty party politics and should not be undermined on this basis. However, if one finds the implementation faulty, constructive criticism is always welcome in our country.
In a humongous country like India, expecting abrupt changes is nothing but naivety and the fact that a vast section of society is too stubborn to change their ways, is not helping either. So, instead of complaining, we must individually take a responsibility to bring about the change to curb pollution and put forward new ideas for the smooth functioning of Swacch Bharat mission.