One cannot deny that the cleanliness in public is an issue in India. Be it a city or village, littering and throwing garbage on the streets and outside the houses is so common. Urinating in public or relieving self in open is a common scene everywhere. At best in some cities including the national capital, the main roads are kept by and large clean but once one ventures towards the back and inner lanes, one can easily notice the difference.
This shows the seriousness of the problem that the Prime Minister himself, on 2nd October, 2014 has announced the Swachh Bharat mission to initiate a drive and motivate citizens of India to keep the country clean from the dirt and garbage. The mission was officially launched at Rajghat, New Delhi on the auspicious day of Gandhi Jayanti, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself wielded broom and did some cleaning work. On the same day, all the Government employees, students in school and colleges were also called upon to participate in the event in their respective areas. Prime Minister also nominated nine eminent personalities reaching out beyond the party and other affiliations to join the mission with the request that they should in turn associate nine others each to form a chain for this righteous cause.
Let us see the psychology behind this approach or attitude of people. On average, every citizen engages self in dusting, mopping and cleaning inside the house. They tend to be careless only at the time of disposal of the garbage and dirt at a point outside the house. The answer is obvious, it is an issue of ownership, they simply do not consider the mohalla or locality as their own. So unless we develop a sense of belonging for the public places too, things are not likely to change for good.
The fact is as a nation Indians are not dirty people. They keep their houses clean and, in fact, in many households shoes and slippers are not worn and kept outside with a view to keep inside clean. Almost every Indian accords high priority for the personal hygiene and takes bath daily even in winters. Hence it is more of the attitudinal change that is required for keeping outside the house and public places clean.
It is important that people take cleanliness mission in the right spirit. If it is restricted to the ritual of doing symbolic cleaning with photo sessions, it will come to a naught without yielding positive results. Recently, an incident was reported wherein a particular institution organized an event for publicity by inviting some public figures. Later it was revealed that that the place was deliberately littered by bringing and dumping garbage from elsewhere to facilitate a photo session showing the cleaning drive. For the sake of cheap publicity, people should not be dishonest with self to do fraud like this on nation.
For the better health and hygiene as also earning respect among the community of nations, we need to spread awareness and keep surroundings clean. Of course, the municipal corporations , municipalities and village panchayats need improved infrastructure in the form of mechanized sweeping machines, new treatment plants for solid, sewage, agricultural and industrial waste, and more manpower etc. This needs the respective governments’ attention and endeavor to accord due priority to cleanliness. Public sanitation and garbage disposal is primary responsibility of the local governance while aware citizens can minimize pressure on them by acting responsibly in public places.
As common citizens, we can significantly contribute in keeping our village and city, its surroundings, roads and lanes clean. We need to simply resolve that once we go out, we will not throw any dirt or garbage including even a piece of waste or torn paper at any public place; if necessary, keep with us to dispose it only at the earmarked place(s). It is more a question of attitude rather than convenience to keep home and surroundings clean.