NEW YEAR RESOLVE

Despite having launched the Clean India Mission ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan’ as a national campaign with great enthusiasm and vigour aiming to achieve the noble mission by 2nd October 2019, the 150th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi there are many apprehensions among the keen observers about the final outcome of the mission. Officially launched on 2nd October 2014 at Rajghat, New Delhi, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself cleaned the road, the mission continues unabated with various governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations participating in this significant crusade spreading awareness among masses regarding the impact of cleanliness on the vital environmental issues. Since we have entered the New Year 2018 today, it is time for the stakeholders to review the progress of this mission if any during the past years and accordingly reformulate the strategy in order to achieve the target by 2nd October next year. Enthusiastic participants from all walks of life have been voluntarily educating the masses across the nation about their role in maintaining cleanliness in their respective surroundings and thus ensuring a healthy living for all. However, despite being a mass movement there seems to be apprehension about its success in view of the fact that awareness alone can’t deliver on ground unless there is a sincere approach adopted by every individual in the society in this regard. No wonder India is largely unclean, with dirt, garbage, trash, dung of various stray animals besides all sorts of litter on the Indian streets. Littering, spitting, urinating and sometime even defecating openly are common occurrences. Swachh Abhiyaan has been devised to do away with such practices that have a direct impact on the health of the nation and its people. Although most of the times we forward the lame excuse of overpopulation being responsible for this mess but it holds no good if we compare ourselves to China which has much more population than that of ours. As reported by a renowned traveler and columnist, during his visit to China he found no municipal sweepers and instead it was the students who had to do such civic duties. Devoid of any caste hierarchies like ours, there is no stigma attached in China to such duties that most of us here feel to be below our dignity. Similarly in Japan every shopkeeper cleans the area outside his shop before closing the shop and the litter and dirt collected is stored inside the shop till next morning to be disposed properly when the concerned agency arrives next morning to collect the same. On the contrary here across the nation we undoubtedly ensure to clean our premises but direct the collected litter and dirt towards the nearby street, road or open areas thereby creating insanitary conditions in our own surrounding area. The reason for this is not only lack of awareness or negligence on our part but the absence of the regular garbage collection system in almost all the towns and cities not to talk of remote areas. Besides this there is no fear among the people of getting booked by the enforcement agencies for creating insanitary conditions, courtesy the inertia on the part of such agencies. One feels surprised as to how we Indians irrespective of individual backgrounds, on settling abroad voluntarily fall in line and adapt to the ways of the respective countries whether in the East or the West, drastically giving up the unclean ways. This is most probably because of strict enforcement of laws and stiff penalties for deviant behaviour existing in such nations. These facts make it amply clear as to why here in India we fail to accomplish our vital missions. It is hoped that every individual in his/her new year resolution prioritizes successful accomplishment of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan by eliminating open defecation by constructing toilets for households, communities; eradicating manual scavenging; introducing modern and scientific municipal solid waste management practices; enabling private sector participation in the sanitation sector and last but not the least changing people’s attitudes to sanitation. This would undoubtedly lead to successful completion of this most noble mission of Clean India.