Thursday, October 2, 2014

Swatchh Bharat mission - can India afford and sustain?

Why do we need to take all the efforts in cleaning the country when we can all avoid building piles and piles of garbage in our neighborhood.  Its like every single drop of water make a huge ocean...every single piece of paper, plastic, filth can count to a big pile of garbage.

I've visited various cities in the most modern and clean countries like Singapore, Switzerland, Germany etc., even there, people do throw soft drink cans, tissue papers, cigarette buds and used napkins in bus stops and food courts.  Interestingly, Singapore is one of the cleanest and I believe its because its cleaned every hour, every day and every week.  It can even afford washing the streets and apartment complexes - the government has policies, will power and money - people also are scared of being caught and the severe punishments imposed.

Can India afford this?

I'd like to share what I have learnt about the Swatchh Bharat Mission so far.
Firstly, What is Swatchh? - its written as स्वच्छ  in Hindi which has several meanings....like clean, neat, fresh, cleanly, silvery, spotless etc.,

Secondly, the "Swatchh Bharat Mission", comes with a tag of the biggest ever cleanliness drive initiated in India, the largest democracy.  The mission calls every single citizen to voluntarily carry out cleaning of their office, residential premises inside and outside, neighborhood and common facilities. The estimated cost is a walloping 1.65 lakh crores (roughly 19 billion USD $) which will be spent on building toilets across the country. 

I came across a website describing this mission (doesn't appear to be an official one).  The mission is all about ending open defecation by 2019.  Year 2019 was chosen because it will be the mark of Mahatma Gandhi's 150 birth anniversary year.  Even though the initiative focuses on toilets for everyone - the mission is appeared to be a wider focused one. ."........towards a cleaner India"

While more details of this mission is awaited answers to the following questions would help us understand India's future better,
  • How exactly the segregation of waste, garbage handling and recycling is expected to improve?
    • How much does this mission focus on building the entire chain of infrastructure right from collection to disposal of waste across the country?
    • How will this be maintained or sustained - especially keeping the toilets clean and hygienic?
    • Whats the governments thinking beyond this mission?
    • On 2-Oct-2014 alone, throughout India, few thousand metric tons of garbage would have been collected in addition to the daily collection.  Thanks to this mission and the enthusiasm shown by the entire country.  How would this additional volume of garbage be handled? this question is important since the garbage dump yards barely have any space or blocked by the local villagers where they are dumped, especially in Bangalore?
    Can India sustain this?

    What could be the solution?

    Read my other blogs related to the same subject....

    Dirty India-root cause analysis-potential solution
    Clean India can come with Clean Habits

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