By Avanija Katiyar:
My hometown, Shillong is supposed to be ‘Scotland of the East’. It is true to a large extent when we take the weather and the landscape factors into account. But, has Shillong been able to live upto to its reputation? The answer is a most certain ‘No’. Why? Let us try and find out.
The top-most problem lies with the masses who dwell within the city’s boundaries. Shillongiites unlike other Indians have done well in keeping the main city hubs of Police Bazar and Laitumkhrah clean and posh. Certain other localities too have maintained certain sets of standards as far as cleanliness is concerned. Talking of such localities, Jaiaw, Wahiongdoh and Lachumiere among others need special mention.
But when it comes to dumping garbage, we do not spare a thought for the picturesque scenes and spots which happen to be at our receiving ends. We casually carry our garbage and dump them into the beautiful streams flowing by the side of our houses. As a result of this reckless attitude followed by us for about a decade; those beautiful streams have turned into drains, more popularly known as ‘naalas’ in the local language.
Even the locality dust-bins, some of which have been sponsored by the government of Australia, are in bad shape. As a consequence, such dust-bins have turned into breeding grounds for stray dogs, who go to the extent of attacking innocent people about to dump in their garbage. Local municipality trucks assigned to clean up the thrash early in the morning do their job pretty well. But, the people seem to carelessly dump their garbage by simply throwing them away; not caring even if they may end up missing their targets. People with pet dogs should make sure that their dogs do not go outside and smear the roads with excrement. The Municipality also needs to get tough with stray dogs, as they are a huge nuisance to the society at large.
All such rash attitudes can be changed if we are somehow convinced that the entire locality is like our own homes. So, if we can start taking care of our own respective localities, the entire city can be a much more better place to live in. Then, it can truly be referred to as, ‘Scotland of the East’. Shillong can even surpass Scotland in every respect; especially in terms of multi-ethnicity. We should make our city proud by keeping it clean in every respect. Tourists, both domestic and foreign should be attracted to our city like iron is attracted to magnet. Cleanliness should be one of the star attractions of Shillong. In order to achieve this aim, we should have cities like Vancouver (in Canada) as our role models.
Editor’s note: Even though the author talks about one city, the city she reports from, this problem is pan India. By giving the solutions and describing the solutions, the author is pointing out to a common issue. It is only when we, in all states and cities, decide to clean up our own community can we decide to have a cleaner and healthier nation. We have begun, are you ready?