Rajkumari Sharma Tankha
This one is coming not just straight from the heart but mind as well. I am talking about the problem of garbage. Why should we have so much garbage all around us? Is it the fault of the municipal authorities? Is the fault of ground-level workers, the sweepers? Is the State/Centre Government at fault? The answer to all these questions is NO. It is none other than we, the people, who are responsible for the mess that we see in our vacant lands, plots and roads.
Why? Because it is we who throw garbage, anywhere and everywhere, without giving a second thought to the problem we are creating. I feel, we have stopped thinking as human beings.
I agree that it is the duty of the civic authorities to clean up the lanes and by lanes, the parks and every inch of public space, but tell me is it not the duty of every one of us to keep it thus? Should the government be appointing a policeman for each citizen to keep wrongdoings under check?
The colony I live in is a supposedly posh colony located in the eastern part of Delhi, inhabited by upper middle class professionals, senior government employees and rich businessmen.
An early morning walk around the area shows the cleanest of roads with not a speck of dirt. This means the government safai karamcharis are doing their job. However, by 10.30 am, these very roads are littered with paper bags, banana peels and similar stuff. By 11.30AM I notice many domestic helps carrying garbage in polythene bags and keeping these on the roadsides or the corners of the buildings, which are later sifted on by dogs. Whenever I have questioned these women, they have pointed to some house or the other saying: vo wali madam se baat kar lo aap, or vo sahab ne kaha hai, hum kya kar sakte hain.
Every evening I notice the colony market that is swept clean in the morning has piles of garbage at not less than 10 locations. By night, the drains are full of polythene and paper bags, peels of fruits and leftover food. Why? Because none of the shopkeepers takes pride in the work they do and area they come to work at. After all, it isn’t their home!
And I wonder why on the earth can these people not understand the harm they are doing to the surroundings they are living in? Do they not understand that the germs, mosquitoes and flies that inhabit these garbage dumps don’t stay limited to the location but infest the entire atmosphere. Is it so difficult to hire the services of a garbage collector? (Most garbage collectors in my colony charge less than Rs 100 a month and they pick up the garbage from doorstep.)
But I guess it’s not about the money alone. It is a total disrespect for your country and total disregard towards the surroundings that is the root cause of this.
This brings me to another point; that of pets. While I have nothing against keeping pets, I am dead against people walking their dogs and cats on the roads and parks. In our area, the back lanes as also the space inside the parks along the boundary wall is dotted with dog poo. Once I confronted the park mali who also doubles up as watchman for the park as to why he does not stop these people. And he had his sorry tale tell. The guy literally started crying as he told me that once he told a domestic help to not walk the dog in the park after which he was called by his supervisor and given a thorough dressing down. “Vo bahut bade judge sahab ka kutta tha. Uske baad se main kisi ko kuch nahin bolta,” he said.
Does this senior judge have any idea how he is stopping a small government employee from discharging his duties. Does he understand that his behaviour has set a bad example before the society? I wonder.
I think we need strict rules and regulations against littering. In the rest of the world, the municipalities have stringent rules and people indulging in such acts are heavily penalised. Nothing as such happens here.
The mere launching of Swachch Bharat Abhiyan will not serve the purpose. For, if people could understand, they would have by now. It is time Government puts heavy fines on those defiling public spaces.