By Amit Singh Kushwaha
Once, I was traveling by train. The train had traveled just 50 kilometers from its starting station. I found out that the washbasin is dirty. Many people spit into it after chewing gutkha and paan. Sighting it, a passenger said, “Railway is not aware of sanitation”. “Should not it be cleaned because we have paid the fare for traveling?” I wondered after listening to this comment.
In the same way, I have to move to my office by passing a railway foot-over bridge every day. The bridge looks dirty because many people are spitting at that place. The cleaning staff cleans it up using acid and water. The bridge is just a hundred meters long, but individuals are not taking care of it.
At present, When I have to go to the bus stand to pick the bus, I feel afraid. I imagine anyone sitting in the bus could spit out from the window. That’s why I go there carefully. I have witnessed a quarrel about this on the bus stand many times when a passenger accidentally spits on a passer-by.
In our community, every family makes an effort to maintain their residence clean and beautiful, but the same person when in public places has a different attitude. Using plastic carry bags and not disposing of properly, is common. Sometimes, People would throw garbage, leftover food, pointed items, broken glass, and poisonous substances openly in plastic bags. This behavior is harmful to our environment and creates a threat to animals, birds because they may unknowingly eat it and die. The garbage collection authorities are requesting people to collect dry and wet waste in different dustbins, but many of us do not follow it seriously.
The conditions of public conveniences are also inadequate. It is found dirty and people do not use it decently. Even, I saw in government offices that the toilets were untidy. No one could lead the initiative to clean the toilet.
In 2017, the Hindi language comedy-drama film ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’ was released and became a success. The movie delivered a solid message to improve sanitation conditions, with an emphasis on the eradication of open defecation, especially in rural areas. It expresses the actual situation of rural areas, where women are facing numerous troubles due to the unavailability of toilets.
This year, the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic vindicates the significance of sanitation and personal hygiene. Many people follow the guidelines and preventive measures issued by the government. At the same time, many others violate the protocols involving the wearing of masks and social distancing, which is the best way to avoid this pandemic. The state governments have banned spitting in public places, but citizens are still not taking it thoughtfully.
Swachh Bharat Mission is a revolutionary movement introduced by the Government of India. The mission displays positive results continuously. For the year 2020, Indore was adjudged India’s cleanest city for the fourth straight year, while Surat and Navi Mumbai grabbed the second and third positions respectively, as the Centre announced the results of its latest annual cleanliness survey.
The father of the nation – Mahatma Gandhi said once, “Sanitation is more important than independence”. Today, after seven decades of independence, his dream of a clean India is still unfulfilled. Sanitation is not a personal issue, it is indirectly reflected in our socio-economic development and to reach the identity and dignity of the forthcoming generations. Cleanliness is not a responsibility of the government only, it is also our duty to live healthily. Positive and collective steps can change society’s attitude towards sanitation. Our responsibility is necessary to sustain the country’s beauty.
(The author is rehabilitation professional and a freelance writer based in Madhya Pradesh. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author. He can be reached at [email protected])