5th Nov, 2017 2017
Thane: Whether it is the outcome of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's three-year-old nationwide Swachha Bharat Abhiyan or a delayed impact of the Sant Gadgebaba Swachhata Abhiyan started by former deputy chief minister and Late RR Patil in 1999, the movement of keeping their areas waste-free has touched every rural and urban nook and corner of the country over the past few years.
Image source: hindustantimes.com
Citizens, armed with brooms, gloves and masks, have been seen carrying out clean-up drives and workshops in their societies, educational institutions and across public spaces. Waste segregation and the importance of dust bins and toilets has become the key topic in many group discussions and debates these days.
While all these changes have taken us all a step closer to a cleaner and waste free India, environmental experts and activists point out that it is high time the Swachh Bharat movement turns into a holistic movement that encompasses not only the cleanliness of the visible solid waste, but also the cleanliness of other forms of pollution including air pollution, water pollution and even noise pollution.
"The first step in transforming our country into a Swachh Bharat is changing the mindset of the people and making them feel a sense of responsibility and pride about the cleanliness of their city. Even though this Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has been limited to solid waste management, it has created awareness about the importance of a clean environment throughout the nation, and motivate people to talk about the issue as well as get out of their homes and form groups to clean up their vicinities," said V Walawalkar, vice president of city based environmental NGO Paryavaran Dakshata Mandal.
Speaking about the need to broaden the scope of this movement, director of the national environmental engineering research institute (NEERI) Rakesh Kumar said, "While managing one's solid waste is essential, 30 to 40% of the cities' waste ends up in nallahs which empties itself into rivers and the sea, thus polluting it. The waste collected by the civic body is dumped at dumping yards and not discarded in a scientific way. In many places solid waste is burnt, which leads to an increase in pollution levels in the air as well as water bodies surrounding it."
"It is very essential that the makers of this campaign ensure that they broaden it to a movement that looks at the overall cleanliness of the cities, right from the scientific management of solid waste to controlling the air and water pollution. On an individual levels, citizens should try to cut down the RSPM levels in their area by not throwing their seeped up dirt and waste outside their homes, avoiding private transportation and thus curbing their vehicular emission and also avoiding double parking and the resulting artificial congestion," Kumar added.
These experts and activists point out that if this Swachh Bharat movement become all-encompassing and proves successful, it will not only create a breed of socially and environmentally conscientious generation in future, but also eliminate the need of activists.
"If this one movement simultaneously works of mitigating all the environmentally degrading issues that affect public health, the generation X will surely pick it up and find solutions that will eliminate the need for any social activism," said Dr Mahesh Bedekar, a citizen activist.
Source : timesofindia.indiatimes.com