Civic Sense of Indians: How Worthy Are Our Claims of Clean Civilization?

Posted on May 3, 2012 in Environment

By Abdul Wahid Khan:

Indians claim to be highly civilized and much better than western culture. We see westernization as a deterioration of Indian culture. Of course, there are pros and cons of all cultures but that does not mean that we should consider ourselves superior in all aspects and do not see chances of improving. The problem I am going to discuss here is the throwing litter in India and what are the factors responsible for it.

The lack of disposal facilities in one of the main reason responsible for this problem. In a lot of cities in India, there are very few dustbins and only some of them are cared for by sweepers. Also the dustbins have usually no cover and are overflowing most of the time, spreading their stink, thereby irritating passer-bys.

Nearby residents often complaint about it but do not take any action themselves. It’s actually they themselves who throw and spread the litter around the dustbin but when it’s overloaded, they step back and blame the municipal authorities.

In Chandigarh, for example, there is not even a single dustbin at bus stands. Parks are also facing the same situation. At a bus stand here, a citizen said, “I had to throw a wrapper and after roaming everywhere in the bus stand I did not find a single dustbin. There are some people like me, who put the wrappers back in their bags but mostly people throw garbage anywhere and everywhere”. With no provision of dustbins at public places, people are littering freely in the open. This shows how ignorant we are for keeping our cities clean. It does not matter too many of us whether it is clean or not.

This reflects the level of our civic sense. Finally when we all have contributed to littering everywhere around the city, we look to blame municipal corporation for not keeping places clean. Some newspapers report that, “Due to lack of dustbins, heaps of garbage can be seen lying in parks and on roadsides, which leaves bad impression on tourists”. The important thing to notice here is that do we want our cities to be clean just to have a good impression on tourists? Do we not want to keep them clean for ourselves? Do we clean our home only when some guests visit? This is not the condition of only Chandigarh or Gurgaon but whole India at different levels. The waste collected is burnt most of the times and it results in smoke pollution. We do not care how much we harm environment and ourselves by burning waste in open.

Sometimes, when government authorities of municipal corporations install dustbins in the city, they just install it at very few places. The spots for placement of dustbins are selected randomly by some officials. The officials assign some sweepers in some areas who are asked to make sure that people dispose the garbage in the dustbins only. The question is how can sweepers ensure that people will do so when they do not care? The placement of dustbins should be done after proper analysis of the routes used by people and at which spots, they need dustbins most. Help of graph theorists can be taken to analyze such paths and find the best possible spots for placement of dustbins.

In all, there are few dominant reasons for increasing litter in the country. The increasing population of India is the backbone of every such problem, with these littering problems seen in other metro cities around the world too; maybe we should better start teaching values of cleanliness and civic sense not only to children but also adults who do not care but only complaint.