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Sanitation and hygiene are the biggest problem which affects millions of people worldwide including India. A place well known for its cultural heritage, faiths and religions fall behind in providing basic provision to help human survival either due to its ignorance, negligence, availability of limited resources or help. Among all people, the children under five are the most affected due to their developing immune system. The kids are often exposed to different germs in their surroundings and when infected leads to diarrhoea which can be fatal. Hence, it becomes crucial to wash their hands with soap often. Hand washing is beneficial when done before/after eating foods, returning home from playing outside, coming out from loo or hospital, before bed and after sneezing. By doing so kids can maintain their hygiene and the same is also applicable to adults.

An important factor that affects a good sanitation is the quality of the three basic needs of human survival - eating clean food, using clean water and clean shelter. The last one "clean shelter" plays an effective role in manipulating the first two in regard to its virtue. It is only a clean shelter that can make room for clean food and clean water that lifts the face of the country to the betterment of healthy living.

Clean Shelter is not only the place where we eat, live or sleep, but also includes lavatory and our surroundings. Most rural parts lack proper toilets leading people to defecate in the open making the surroundings unclean and causing unwanted diseases. Girls and woman are the most affected, especially during their monthly cycles where there is no room for privacy. Children on the other hand are more prone to infections.

Even in well developed cities, clean shelter is still an abstract word. The roadway that connects my home and my cousin's home is where people in our area usually dump their garbage every day. And the garbage van that collects the wastes comes once every morning or sometimes once in two days. But in between that time, the street dogs would have made more mess by pulling the waste bits of food particles and bones from the plastic bags. The flies would have gathered feeding on the waste and dirty waters surrounding the bin. Many people in our area who will need to take that road as a short cut to the bus stop will rush with their nose covered with their hands or cloths. Such is the smell arising from the gathered waste. The first person to be blamed for such a state is "ourselves" as we are the ones who dump our household waste in compost-heaps away from our home more than what the small concrete bin can hold. And on the other hand, is it also negligence of the concerned authority in providing a larger bin to accommodate the population in that area or due to an ineffective waste management system. But what follows next are the breeding of mosquitoes that brings in deadly diseases back home affecting people young and old. Similar is the situation in many parts of the country where people suffer silently. Although there are few examples for good waste management system followed by some Indian cities regarding decentralized composting, waste sanitizing methods and large-scale compost plants, there are more cities, villages and rural areas that currently have no such provisions or help. 

Banega Swachh India

Like the old adage saying goes "cleanliness starts from home",  it is important to teach children to follow certain basic principles of hand washing, keeping their places clean, to urinate only in toilets and to dispose wastes only on the bins. It also becomes necessary to educate people about the importance of cleanliness which is the driving force behind Swachh India campaign, a vision of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a cleaner and a better India. The ignorance and negligence attitude of people can be downsized by bringing them together and making them work towards a single goal - clean India in five years time (Oct 2, 2014 - Oct 2, 2019) and help construct toilets where needed.

Also, it must be noted that cleaning just the roads and pathways is not sufficient. There should be a proper waste management system in place starting from home as most often in India, domestic wastes includes a mixture of food bits, plant wastes, wrappers, batteries to plastics, etc all being dumped together.

Waste collection methods vary largely from place to place and even among countries. In India, the local government authorities handle domestic waste collection services, whereas the private companies handles the industrial and commercial wastes. Taking just the domestic wastes into account, most of the wastes are just the mixture of everything that are collectively dumped into the garbage bins. It is the waste picker who salvages on the recyclable materials by selling it for money or for his personal consumption which in most cases is unhealthy for him. Even the discarded piles of plastic that are thrown in the landfill make the land unfit for cultivation and eventually becomes a no-man’s land.

clean india

In many developed countries, the government has reinforced an effective waste management system in place where they usually recycle the papers, cartons and plastics by classifying different types of wastes in terms of hazardous and non-hazardous, business and commercial as well as biodegradable and non -biodegradable wastes. Such waste management should be followed in our country to help segregate the accumulated modern mixed waste into biodegradable and non -biodegradable wastes in every parts of the country including rural areas just as the clean India campaign. The knowledge of how biodegradable wastes can be used as a fodder in agricultural lands or for plants in our home and how the non -biodegradable can be reduced by 60% -80% by recycling it or alternatively be turned into renewable energy should be available to one and all in the country.

The success rate of the "Banega Swachh India" campaign depends not only by keeping our city clean but also on how effectively we handle our wastes for a long term maintenance making way for India's cleaner and healthier future.

The above post is written for "Banega Swachh India" by Indiblogger. Join the cleanathon on 14 December from 9.00 a.m to 9.00 p.m.


  1. Waste management is indeed important for sanitation & hygiene.
    Hope we attain our goal for Swachh India by 2019. Everyone needs to be aware & participate.
    Nicely shared, Uma! Best wishes :)

  2. A clean India would lead to a progressing nation.

  3. It is a chicken and egg syndrome. Do people not segregate because the garbage collection guy anyway mixes the garbage? Is it possible for us to have composting initiatives individually or at the community levels so that we can take care of our own wet waste? Is it possible to collect and recycle what we can? Of course, civic bodies need to do a lot, but I don't see many citizens really segregating.

  4. Yeah Uma.. hope we attain our goal for a swachh Bharat :)

  5. Nicely explained Uma :) (h) As you said, waste management and long term maintenance are very important. Cleaning is not a day's work, it is everyday work that we all have to do... Wishing all the success to the campaign :)
    TC! Keep smiling :)

  6. Nice post.Ihave a compost bin on my terrace--the end product is immensely satisfying.
    Around where i live i have seen people only making cosmetic changes with regard to cleanliness.One day of shram-dan has no use.

  7. Waste management is a missed opportunity in India, Uma!Nice post!


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