I was shocked and surprised to find this video by the famous and anonymous UglyIndian and how their statements coincide with my initial and personal assumptions. They have concluded that India is specifically more filthier than any other country, simply because we are Indians.
However, my hope is not in the solution but I will keep hope in getting the problem understood. Here are two simple examples.
Afroz Shah, a lawyer, one day decided to clean up the Versova beach. He started single, inspired people and wallah! The impossible task was done. The entire beach in Mumbai was clean and sparkling! Even a particular species of turtles that used to be there on the beach, started breeding after decades! Imagine that! Cleanliness and sanitation having a direct impact on climate change and the balance of the earth!
Unfortunately, however, even after acclaim from the Prime Minister, the UN and so many others across India and the world, the ground realities did not change.
A few months later, the entire beach was dirty again!
Now, the attention turned to finding root causes for this and turned out to be the litter thrown from various other parts of Mumbai, that ran into creeks and then, in turn, washed ashore to this beach. That son of a beach! But then also, the volunteers and Afroz Shah himself was heckled. Imagine! There are people who want a dirty beach, against a man who did the impossible, after being commended by the UN.
We can keep arguing, between hope and method or between doing and calculating. Point is, a race and a culture are responsible for decades of litter. I’m glad that from the above examples, at the least, no one is shying away from calling out the problem as is.
Meanwhile, today in October 2018, the Versova beach is cleaner than how dirty it because AFTER the cleanup. Why? Because the systems in place have come to the rescue. People are constantly cleaning the beach with the Govt apparatus helping. There are cases filed against people who are trying to (for I don’t know whatever reason) block a clean beach.
I have gotta mention my second example. The current Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ‘Swachch Bharat’ or ‘Clean India’ campaign in the first year of his government on Oct 2nd, 2014 (Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday). On the launch, the PM, along with students, bureaucrats, other ministers, and dignitaries took the ‘Cleanliness and No-to-Litter Pledge’.
This was the pledge:
I will neither litter not let others litter. I will initiate the quest for cleanliness with myself, my family, my locality, my village and my work place. I believe that the countries of the world that appear clean are so because their citizens don’t indulge in littering nor do they allow it to happen. With this firm belief, I will propagate the message of Swachh Bharat Mission in villages and towns.
So my argument is, let’s not jump into solutions. I surely have hope that countries like India, will be super clean one day… one day… maybe in the year 2100. The point is to speed it up. We can clean the entire country right now, today. The problem is how do we maintain it the next day. So if the problem is the people, can we change the people? We can’t.
My thesis idea aims to poke, taste, rip, label, feel, smell, react, complain, enrage, point to the problem of litter and trash! This is what most people do today! So why not harness this… silently. The only that I want to eliminate or the goal of my project is to STOP people from IGNORING the problem or DISMISSING the problem. If I can do the least of that, then I’ll be glad. I want to bring the problem face first. Seems silly, but I think this is very powerful.
Will, this help to make a change or clean? I don’t know. But this is my assumption, this is my belief and I will work in this direction.