I remember as a child writing essays on ‘Cleanliness is Godliness’ even when I did not know the meaning of the proverb. I remember being all high and mighty in my thoughts and claiming that India should employ more sweepers to keep the streets clean. That was my simple solution to a silly problem that the government should have solved years ago, or so I thought. As I grew up, I realized that even if the number of cleaning staff doubled, India will continue to remain dirty.
The problem was not with the government, it was with the people themselves. The ‘chalta hai’ attitude for which we are known worldwide makes us believe that it is acceptable to throw a pee here, spit there and litter everywhere. We are so used to living in dirty surroundings, that it hardly affects us. Sure, we do wrinkle our noses with distaste once in a while, but that is, well, once in a while. Other times, as long as we are in the safety of our concrete confinements, we don’t care about the rest of the world.
The problem, according to many, is not with us but with ‘them’; those nameless, faceless millions who litter the paths that we tread on, careful not to dirty our stilettos or boots.
So, before you walk out of your house to clean up your drive (with a camera in tow, of course) please answer the following questions:
Do you quietly litter the place when nobody is looking?
Do you take your pets out and not clean the mess?
Do you turn a blind eye when your friends/family/acquaintances litter?
Do you keep quiet when the government officials do not take up cleanliness on a priority?
If you have answered yes to even a single question, then you have no right to talk about how unclean your city, town or village is. Cleanliness has to come from within and every person needs to believe that change can start from him or her.
So instead of lamenting about the sad state of affairs, YOU need to bring about a change. Use these five simple steps:
Adopt an area and start a cleanliness drive. Clean up the place, beautify it with plants or anything else that you like so that no one will have the heart to dirty it again.
Shame people who dirty places publicly. Oh yes, tell them that their photos will be posted on social networking sites if they don’t clean up. It works like magic. Believe me, I have tried it 🙂
Ensure that you carry a bag around to put all your litter in. So you won’t have the excuse that there were no dustbins.
Contribute and install community dustbins around your area.
The most important part; hold the government accountable. If your trash hasn’t been taken out for days or a garbage dump is not cleaned regularly, file a complain. Raise your voice loud and clear.
These were a few thought starters; maybe you have more innovative suggestions, do share them below. J
Let’s strive to make our country one of the cleanest places in the world.
*About #AbMontuBolega campaign
“There are places that need cleaning, people who deserve your attention & authorities who need to hear your opinions! Don’t be a silent spectator. Raise your voice and make a difference.
We know that raising our voices against all that is dirty in our country is a power that we all have. Let’s exercise the power of our voice & work towards a Swach Bharat.
Kyuki Bin Bole Ab Nahi Chalega #AbMontuBolega.”
* Text taken from campaign page.