The economic growth of India in the last decade is something which makes us feel proud. Not just economy, India has taken rapid strides in a number of other fields as well. Sure, the world is taking a note of it too. However, one area where India does not fare so well, or has not moved forward, at present is environmental cleanliness or the cleanliness of the surroundings.
Though the situation may be slightly better in certain parts of the country, the fact remains that India’s rate of progress in keeping the surroundings clean has been very sluggish for several years. This is, at best, exemplified by the fact that no matter in whichever city or town, big or small, you turn up, it is commonplace to catch sight of litter on roads and in water bodies. Such a sight presents the basic sense of hygiene of average Indians in poor light.
Bad impression aside, it also raises a question on the success of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and a number of other such programs undertaken by the Government of India to make the country a clean and livable place for its citizens.
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan – an initiative by the Government of India – was launched to achieve the objective of providing total sanitation by the year 2019. Though it mainly focuses on addressing the issue of open defecation, it also aims to improve India’s image in terms of basic hygiene in the years to come.
Without a doubt, trash and litter everywhere call for the immediate attention of everyone. But what aggravates the matter further is the fact that nobody seems to care about it – neither the local government nor the residents. Probably, it has got to do something with the fact that a majority of people do not realize the downsides associated with it. To put it another way, there is a lack of awareness of the harmful effects of littering.
Though scattering garbage everywhere is the norm, people in India are keen on keeping their houses in a polished and tidy condition. They believe their responsibility is confined to doing so inside their houses. When it comes to cleaning their surroundings, their sense of responsibility vanishes in the thin air.
Going by the growth figures of the economy, India can be richer in future than it is at present. But from the standpoint of cleanliness and hygiene, it may take years before the situation in India can be termed as “acceptable”. Is it how we want to present India’s future to our coming generations and the world?
When you come to think of it, there seems to be no definite answer, especially when you take into consideration the lack of seriousness on the matter among the commoners in India. Considering the alarming situation of dumping garbage in the open in India, it’s high time we prioritized the matter and started taking steps to resolve it.
Whether we do it now or later, we have to realize the problem for sure. The root cause of the problem is this stubborn mentality: littering is socially acceptable everywhere in India; no one minds, no one cares to stash the trash. Unless we changed this mentality, it would be next to impossible to bring about a change in this respect.
We may achieve growth and progress, we may walk beside the rich nations a few years down the line but we will not be able to cross the finishing line until we get rid of stinky garbage and dirt piles that give out stomach-turning stenches. Financial breakthroughs are good but along with it, we also need to change our mentality and realize the importance of clean surroundings at the personal level. Don’t you think so?