Swach Bharat thanks to PM Modi’s Cleanliness campaign kick started on October 2 and has become a slogan these days. Even my 8-year-old son is aware of Swach Bharat and its importance. Schools are making efforts to educate children towards maintaining hygiene and ensuring that they keep their surroundings clean. In India, where we pay utmost attention to our homes and their cleanliness, the same consideration is not extended to our public spaces. Garbage heaps in the biggest and the trendiest of Indian cities are a testament to this.
I live in Bangalore which has been facing an acute garbage management crisis since a few years now. Bangalore’s citizens generate around half kg of garbage per capita. There is barely any segregation or recycling that takes place. The citizens are as much to blame as the nexus of BBMP, Corporators and Contractors. The processes are hardly in place to enforce citizens to do segregation and for proper disposal of waste. Despite reading about the crisis, we go about our lives as if nothing has changed. Our garbage is dumped in landfills in villages on the outskirts of Bangalore making their inhabitants susceptible to falling sick and poisoning their land and water. After raising incessant stink, one of the villages has stopped allowing the garbage to be dumped there.
And the city is back to a crisis situation where the garbage continues to pile up but there is no place to dump it.
This is happening because of the parochial actions of both the BBMP and Bangalore’s citizens.
Just like #AbMontuBolega, I will speak up too against this crazy disposal of garbage which is not only leaving our cities dirty but also prone to spread of diseases and epidemics. Here are the steps we all can take to make our cities Swach:
- Segregate at source: I have been segregating garbage at my home for years now. All the wet waste from the kitchen is composted along with leaves and grass from the garden to yield nutrient rich compost for my husband’s organic garden. Yes, we grow our own fruits and vegetables too. The compost does not smell and neither does the waste.
- Use water sparingly: Water is a precious resource. Do not waste it. In my home, all water used for washing vegetables, fruits, lentils etc. is collected and used to water the plants. We avoid showers and prefer bucket baths.
- Recycle as much as possible: Most households recycle newspapers. Did you know that you can recycle your milk packets and the plastic bottles in your homes? Speak to your neighborhood raddiwala (newspaper collection point) and he will take it from you. Yes, you can make money from it and also help recycling thereby generating less garbage.
- Avoid usage of plastic: Always carry a jute or cloth bag with you. Insist on not taking plastic covers from vendors, kirana stores etc. That way you will reduce the usage of plastic. Plastic does not degrade. Once out there in the ecosystem, it does permanent damage. Thousands of cows die as they consume plastic bags that clog their tummies. Think about it.
- Do not litter: Teach your children and everyone else not to litter. Always throw any packets in the dustbin. You do not want them clogging our drains and causing floods every time it rains.
- Do not dirty the streets: Garbage dumped at street corners is an open invitation to street dogs, diseases and squalor. Do not do that. Your public spaces are yours too. Take ownership of them.
- Garbage collection agencies: Inflict stiff fines on those who litter and do not segregate garbage. It can be done if you show some will.
Let us try and keep our cities clean. It is an urgent need. And it can only be done when the citizens collaborate with the government agencies. Let #SwachBharat be a mission for all of us.
Join me with Montu and Strepsils in raising my voice for this pertinent issue. See how Montu found his voice and discovered the power to speak up against wrong by clicking the image below: