Tidy tidings this new year ?
About a week ago, I stopped by a sweetmeat shop in the heart of Vasco to buy a snack and drink. The young adult served me the samosa on a piece of newspaper. I took the samosa and told him I did not need the newspaper serviette.
He promptly crushed the piece of paper into a ball and threw it out right in front of his shop on the cemented walkway. All this while the waste bin in which customers threw their plastic cups after drinking his lassi or badam milk was just there in front of his shop.
I walked across picked up the paper ball and put it in his waste bin, looked at him with exasperation and asked him why he did that and littered the place in front of his own shop. He just gave a sheepish shrug and said it would have been swept away by the municipality workers.
It set me thinking that the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan would need more than TV advertisements, sloganeering, and celebrity photo ops to make Bharat clean and litter free. There are still several spots on the roads that are de-facto garbage dumps for the people around the area notwithstanding the initial blitz of the Swachh Bharat campaign.
More importantly how does one develop a self motivated consciousness in a population that has not been very particular in its garbage disposal culture.
Perhaps a pat and a whip need to be employed. After a suitable period of generating awareness is completed, some deterrent punitive action will need to be instituted.
This irresponsible disposal of garbage cuts across all economic classes. There even several residents of high income enclaves of the neighbourhood who choose not to be part of the locality’s garbage collection system. It would be an interesting exercise to see how they dispose their waste, especially the non degradable plastics and other packaging material that is generated in larger volumes by the higher income groups.
Even in the much touted spotlessly clean Singapore, the effective ingredient in ensuring compliance
is the punitive element that makes one toe the line.
Will that happen here?