The cleanliness drive

Swachhta Abhiyan, the nationwide cleanliness drive launched by the Centre, is a good initiative. However, as with any other government initiative, it appears that the programme has ended up as a photo op for the politicians and bureaucrats.
The event has been relaunched with renewed vigour to mark the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on 2 October. The event has seen a number of politicians pick up the broom and sweep even areas where there was no visible dirt.
However, such photo ops will do little in ensuring cleanliness in the country where people are used to dumping everything on the streets and the rivers. The citizens are still not educated on how to dispose of waste. While it’s a big opportunity for the politicians to lecture on the need to keep our cities and villages clean, without involving the citizens, cleanliness drives will not be successful.
Citizens need to be made partners in the cleanliness drives. For that to happen, responsibilities need to be delegated, right from school children to every other citizen. Cleanliness must be made part of the curriculum in schools, so that it is inculcated early.
While the country makes a start on cleanliness, it is also time to talk about segregation of waste as little is being taught about segregation of waste at source.
Everything, right from household to industrial waste, is being disposed of unscientifically. Everything goes into landfills. There is little emphasis on recycling. This has to end. The earth should not be made a dumping ground. No matter how many cleanliness drives are announced, unless we learn how to recycle or make use of degradable waste, it is unlikely that the Swachhta Abhiyan will be a success.