Garbage dumps on the roads, streets, lanes and bye lanes are a common sight in India. We create garbage. We ignore garbage. We have reconciled to live with garbage. In fact, garbage has now become part of our culture. Construction material, debris are dumped near newly constructed posh buildings, it remains there for ages. Sewage taken out from the drains is left in the open for days to dry up and again fall in the drains from where it was removed.
Sweepers here work according to their sweet will. You are on the way to your office and somebody on the road with a large handle broom sweeps dust on you. You reach your office dressed in an immaculate suit and encounter the office sweeper who raises dust on your face. Sweeper’s working hours, incidentally coincides with your office opening hours.
One major reason that comes in the way of cleanliness is rampant digging activity. Agencies like Telephone Dept, Electricity Dept, Jal nigam , Power Works Dept dig roads whenever they have to without any coordination among themselves. The dug up part is covered with loose earth and left as such for months or even for years. The responsibility to remove garbage rests with different civic agencies. MCD, PWD, Horticulture, which agency will remove which type of garbage depends upon the variety of garbage in the street. MCD will remove household garbage, PWD will remove construction material refuse and horticulture Dept will remove only cuttings of plants, tree leaves etc. One civic agency will not touch garbage created by the other agency.
Citizens’ contribution in keeping their cities clean is very significant. Paan chewing is a mammoth problem in our country. The chewer is always in search of a corner preferably a staircase, lift, or a flower pot to spit his mouthful substance. Pissing in the open is another convenience taken advantage of by our countrymen. In the rural South I have seen even women easing themselves in standing position in the open. Community parks are often strewn with left over picnic material. Garbage bins are not visible in the first place; their location suggests ‘Do Not Use Me’.
In most of foreign countries littering is an offence. Heavy fine deters people from throwing unwanted things on the roads. In India anybody can throw anything anywhere, there is no law to prosecute the offenders. Garbage collection bins kept in the colonies often overflow emitting strong stench, stray dogs and rag pickers do the rest.
Nightly cleaning of streets is the norm in many countries, they are also using modern equipments for cleaning, can it be done in India. We have taken so many ‘vices’ from the west can we not adopt their proclivity for cleanliness.