Experiential travel stories from India and 31 other countries!

Don't postpone cleanliness, lets start early

Why India is dirty?

We love holidaying in spic and span foreign locales, we hire maids to keep our indoors absolutely clean, we bathe everyday but we conveniently spit just anywhere on the road. For a minute or two, we do get perturbed by putrefying garbage dumps, unclean footpaths, urine stench from street corners, paan (betel leaf) stains on walls, etc but we walk away.  Blatantly we blame the government for not doing much but rarely do we feel embarrassed when we dump our garbage in front of our neighbors door or throw wrappers from our moving cars. We talk about shining India with dreamy eyes but we make our surroundings unlivable by our own dirty habits. We are oblivious to standards of hygiene. We feel once we are outside the house, our responsibility is over. The roads, the train, hospitals, temples everything except our house belongs to somebody else so we have all the rights to dirty it. Yes! we shamelessly do that too. 

Our Ugly Habits

I have lived in a hostel during engineering days and I can’t tell you how some girls give me nightmares. In those four years even the exams dint torment me but the dirty washrooms. There were females who would use it as if they never had to return. Mine was a  government college and I have nothing to contradict if people say private institutions are definitely more sanitized and hygienic in comparison to government. There wasn’t anyone to follow up, there was no fear of losing a job and thus the sweeper would turn up to clean the hostel loos on the days of her choice and ‘daily as a regime’ was not her cup of tea. So together some of girls would opt to clean it up and we would succeed too. But now when I work for a Swedish Multinational, I do not see much of a change in the attitude of men and women. The washrooms are neat and clean just that its users are indifferent to cleanliness. Wiping the toilet seat after use is the last thing they would do and neither will teach their children ever. 

In our everyday life… Sanitation has a role

The flat in my neighborhood had been vacant for months until recently when a young couple shifted in there. They have two boys aged 7 and 4. One day I ended up visiting her house during tea time. Well, it was one scary scene at her house with her over the top naughty kids. Her younger son was chewing a gum, taking it out every few minutes from his mouth was putting it again.  Not just it he was busy throwing cutouts of paper, books, toffee wrappers just everywhere in the room and the same hands were being used with the chewing gum and the mother was thinking it was entertaining for me. Just then when I mentioned DUSTBIN  for cutouts and WASHING HANDS with DETTOL to her, I saw her elder son peeing in the garden. I was surprised to see the indifferent mother and I returned with a ugly impression. Hope the kids grow up to be responsible citizens of the country!


Sanitation and hygiene begins at Home

The picture above stands as an example that lets start it from our homes and lets start it early. My sister-in-law is teaching my niece of one to put the wrapper of the toffee in the dustbin. I agree she is too young to learn now but looking at the state of the country we really have to start early with our young ones. Lets teach our children to use dustbins because most of us seriously do not have habit of disposing the waste rightly.

Education is not just about A+ grades and lessons and poem, social responsibilities should also be promoted. In schools and homes everywhere we should put sticky notes, chartpaper cut outs, whiteboards carrying messages and quotes  inspiring everyone to adopt cleanliness as a habit.

A sticky note!!!

  • The most simple things of all, lets start from washing our hands before eating, cooking and after we touch the dustbin, mops, dirty articles etc.
  • Cleaning the containers, utensils, cups and plates in our kitchens which have been biting dust for long.
  • The dustbin of the kitchen should be covered and the garbage of the house should be disposed at the right place.
  • We have to learn to dispose rubbish and congenital litterbugs properly.
  • We have to teach clean toilet habits to children because this is where we fail when we ourselves use shared spaces. Towards every shared space whether its a road, street, monument, train etc, we have a responsibility to keep it clean like everyone else.
  • We must separate recyclables and compost-able material from household waste so that they can be recycled.
  • Masks, gloves, buckets, broomsticks and mops should be used regularly and even kids should be engaged with cleaning of the house.
  • Each member of the house should strictly refrain from throwing empty cigarette packs, plastic wrappers or cans from car windows.
  • The grown ups of the house should be conscious of their surroundings and educate the children too towards social responsibilities.
  • Helpers and maids should also be educated to keep themselves neat and clean.
  • We should sponsor bins for our areas, we should volunteer to clean our gardens and parks of the society.
  • Lets take ownership of the cleanliness of the road facing our house and feel that we have a part to play in the upkeep of our locality.
  • We have to teach our children that one who cleans our house is not someone from a lower status and all what she/he does is not a menial job. They are there to help us and not because only they are meant to do.

Positive actions around hygiene and sanitation will affect India at large! 

Delhi Metro is an example where people have kept away from littering around or spitting just anywhere. Maybe we need to create that neat environment or that fear of fines and penalty to make people realize that they have to keep the environment clean.

  • Clean India means healthy and diseases free India
  • Clean India means thriving Indian Tourism
  • Clean India means confident India

We need to act and set examples and not just keep talking about the issue #swachhindia.

Amitabh Bachchan Campaign Ambassador

NDTV & Dettol are coming together for this cleanliness drive. It is a 12 hour LIVE program called CLEANATHON to be aired on television on 14th December, 2014. The aim is to bring together the entire nation towards better sanitation & hygiene. Mr Amitabh Bachchan is the campaign ambassador and will be the host of this event.

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