Thursday, October 30, 2014

Swachcha Bharat

Our cities are full of garbage. There are multiple reasons for it, every one knows them, but no one is able to do anything about it. When I was young, 20 years ago, the NSS / Scouts of schools used to go to villages to do voluntary work. Now I see that most villages are clean when compared to the cities. It is the urban sprawl that is filthy and garbage ridden.

Swaccha Bharat initiative has the right intentions, but is it the right way to go about cleaning up our country? Won't it be better to increase the conservancy budget of municipalities and corporations and equip them to handle waste management better? Increase the salary of conservancy workers, give them protective equipments (most of them don't even have gloves, they clear garbage with bare hands), train them - won't these be better initiatives than photo ops of celebrities? How about increasing the investment in solid waste management?

I am not against exhorting the public to keep their streets clean. It is long over due. But focusing on that alone will not help us. Keeping our homes spic and span will not realize the aim of clean India. Most of our homes are clean. We throw the garbage into the neighboring areas. And they do the same. I will leave you with a Tamil poem by Devadevan

குமட்டிக் கொண்டு வருகிறது
வீதியை அசுத்தப் படுத்திவிட்டு
அந்தக் குற்றவுணர்வே இல்லாமல்
ஜம்மென்று வீற்றிருக்கும் இவ்வீடுகளின்
சுத்தமும் நேர்த்தியும் அழகும் படோபடாபமும் காண்கையில்

A rough translation

Littering the streets,
bereft of any guilt
stand majestically these houses.
Their cleanliness, perfection, beauty and opulence
makes me puke.

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