Prime Minister Narendra Modi is launching the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan on October 2 on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti. On this occasion, he will also administer the oath of cleanliness to the countrymen. Some lines of the oath are as follows, Mahatma Gandhi had dreamed of an India which was not only independent but also clean and developed, now it is our duty to serve Mother India by keeping the country clean… ..I will be dedicated to cleanliness and will devote time towards it…I will neither spread filth nor allow anyone to spread it.
Gandhiji had great emphasis on cleanliness, he did not wait for anyone for this, rather he himself got involved in the work of cleanliness. He himself used to clean the toilets in his ashram. His statement that became very famous was that, “If he is made the Lat Saheb of India, he would first like to clean the slums of the Valmiki community.” By cleanliness, he did not at all mean that the garbage would be carried from one place to another. The place should be shifted. Rather, for them cleanliness meant disposal of waste and its proper use.
But on the contrary, our behavior is different, cleaning work is considered inferior in our society and we look down on the cleaners. In our country, there is a practice of picking up not only the dirt but also the feces with other hands. Most of us still consider it a caste profession, a profession that only the so-called lower castes can do. Our Constitution prohibits caste based discrimination known as untouchability and last year the Parliament of India also outlawed the practice of manual scavenging by “prohibiting the employment of manual scavenging workers and Rehabilitation Act (2013 Act)” has been implemented.
But the report released by Human Rights Watch last month – “Cleaning Human Waste “Manual Scavenging,” Caste, and Discrimination in India” – is something different. The story tells. The 96-page report states that even today certain castes across India “are forced to work as manual scavengers; manual scavengers face violence and abuse if they leave the job.” There is social and economic boycott and threat of eviction from their place.
According to the report, officials and departments are often involved in this crime of discrimination, such as gram panchayats and municipalities recruiting employees on the basis of caste to clean open defecation areas. It is clear that people doing this work also face discrimination in other aspects of their lives, including access to education, community water sources and employment benefits.
On the other hand, we throw our garbage on the road without any hesitation, we throw garbage from our windows as if we are not concerned with the cleanliness of any public place other than our own house. Even in our schools, children are not taught much about sanitation.
Along with cleanliness, the issue of garbage disposal is also linked. Today, due to increasing urbanization, waste management has emerged as a major problem in developing countries like India. We have created mountains of garbage near our cities, the height and width of these dangerous mountains are increasing day by day because 1 lakh 60 thousand metric tons of garbage is produced in the country every day. From 1950 till today, 12 large garbage heaps have been built in the capital Delhi which are up to seven floors high. Mumbai’s largest garbage dump is the Deonar garbage dump spread over 110 hectares. 92 lakh tonnes of garbage has accumulated here. Same is the condition of other metros and cities also.
This waste remains a big challenge for public health and environment. Toxic chemicals seeping from the garbage are contaminating the land, air and water and the population living near them is suffering from many serious diseases like malaria, TB, asthma and skin diseases. If we talk about Mumbai itself, then the settlements near Deonar area. In Mumbai, out of every 1000 children, 60 die at birth, while in the rest of Mumbai the average is 30 children per thousand.
We need a change in our attitude towards cleanliness and the people engaged in this work, first of all the government should stop the practice of manual excreta collection and strictly implement the law made for this. Even at the social level, we have to emphasize on establishing the work of cleanliness not on the basis of caste but on the basis of profession. On the other hand, our technology of disposing of waste is very old, due to which there is a serious threat to both filth and pollution. It seems that our governments and municipal administrations remain unaware of all these challenges. Waste is a resource, 90 percent of the waste can be converted into valuable fertilizer. The land being used for dumping garbage can also be made fertile.
In this regard, it is the responsibility of the governments and municipal corporations to educate and motivate the public so that wet and dry waste can be kept separately and reused and recycled, but the opposite is happening. . Our municipal corporations often collect all types of garbage together and dump it in the open on vacant lands or on roadsides on the outskirts of the city. This is the main reason for dirt and pollution in our cities.
In developed countries, garbage disposal has become established as a very profitable business. There, the city’s waste does not become a pile of filth and spread foul smell and diseases, rather it is used to make new goods by recycling it and to produce bio gas, electricity etc. But the situation here is that children are doing the work of garbage collection which should be done by the administration. According to an estimate, about 3 lakh children do the work of garbage collection in the capital Delhi, approximately the same number of children do this work in Mumbai. Are attached. These children, who are working for their livelihood, are forced to live a dreadful life every day and are falling prey to deadly diseases like cancer, asthma, TB and skin diseases.
In view of the increasing spread of our cities, there is a great need for solid waste management along with cleanliness drives. Apart from this, the agencies responsible for garbage collection are proving to be incapable of segregation of wastes, their timely collection and transportation, their There is a lack of equipment, land and machines required for this, there is a need to meet these needs and at the same time the urban bodies will have to improve their methods.
There is a need to make this campaign more public than private, instead of giving preference to huge domestic and foreign firms, people engaged in garbage picking, scrap work and people willing to adopt it as a business should be identified and necessary training related to this should be done. Be given so that they can cooperate in this process on their own or by forming a group. With this, people will not only participate in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan but will also get a new source of income in a professional manner.
But most of all we need a change in our attitude towards cleanliness and the people engaged in this work, first of all the government should stop the practice of picking up feces by hand and strictly implement the law made for this. . Even at the social level, we will have to emphasize on establishing cleanliness not on the basis of caste but on the basis of profession.