PM Modi’s pet project which aims at creating a civic sense among the people can be called a groundbreaking movement. Something that is being turned into an all people phenomenon. It is really a commendable task that our prime minister is doing, to educate people about cleanliness. But what has been the impact of this movement? Has there been any apparent change beyond MLAs and MPs picking up broomsticks as a part of their propaganda? Evidently not. Railway stations are still at their dirtiest, people still piss on roadsides and the inherent spitters still do not feel ashamed of their actions. Mr. Modi’s plan of swach bharat is undoubtedly a great idea to unite people to create awareness. But it is a half hearted measure. Where is the infrastructure? To get a clean city, you basically need proper waste management systems. Sewage treatment plants for instance are just stepping stones to a greener and environment friendly development. Separating biodegradable and non biodegradable wastes and setting up recycling plants are just the textbook measures which focus on proper waste disposal and cleaner environment. If these systems are established then people will automatically use them. Installing a dustbin at a public place won’t help unless you don’t know what to do with the waste inside that dustbin. What we are doing now is just dumping the waste of that smaller dustbin into a larger dustbin . In every city, you can find acres of barren land being used as city dumpyards, where there is no management of waste whatsoever. Heaps of waste keep on piling until that land is unable to withstand anymore. And then what is done? We shift the dumpyard to a new place. Picking the broom to clear the waste ( by people) is a novel idea. But we first need infrastructures for waste management. Otherwise, what is the use of such drive if you make one place very beautiful and other very dirty? As far as people are concerned, the best they can do is not spit, pee in public and use public dustbins. Apart from this, people in general aren’t really equipped to do anything else. About 5 years back, I became a part of a cleanliness drive at my school which mainly aimed at separating biodegradable and non biodegradable waste. We started it at home and I was really enjoying the idea of having two separate dustbins for plastic waste and organic waste when suddenly I realised that both of these dustbins were emptied in the same MCD waste collecting truck. What’s then the use of separating the waste if it has to go to the same dumpyard? Like most homes, we didn’t have a lawn outside our home to build any compost pits. And recycling process has to be done by civic bodies. So, the point I am trying to make here is, that even if citizens are made aware, you really can’t expect positivie results unless the infrastructure is developed. If there is a process, an infrastructure, people will use it. Like the MCD trucks. People use it because it is there. And then I don’t think people will really be needed to make aware of importance of cleanliness in surroundings. They will themselves resort to proper waste management if they have proper facilities.
Unless the BJP is trying to blame people for keeping cities unclean, that we don’t sweep the streets, I think they should expedite the development of waste treatment plants in the cities and undertake more such waste management projects. Otherwise, we will hear the same old story – You failed because you didn’t clean up !