“Clean Mumbai Green Mumbai” may have become a played out cliché, but it is a goal every Mumbaikar should aspire to achieve. What knocks Mumbai out of the competition among world class cities like Shanghai, New York and London, to name a few, is majorly its lack of cleanliness. The fact Prime Minister Modi addressed the cleanliness issue from the ramparts of Red Fort on Independence Day this year shows that a lot still needs to be done! Dharavi may have won accolades for being featured in Hollywood films but it does nothing to improve the city’s underbelly. Be it the Mumbai railway tracks which have become veritable dumping grounds or the ill-kept public toilets which are more like gas chambers good ol’ Hitler would have been proud of; our city needs an immediate wake-up call.
At the risk of sounding preachy, but with every good intention, Shruti Barot voices her take on the need of the hour.
It’s not enough cleaning your house just two minutes before your guests arrive, which almost throws you into near cardiac arrest; but it’s something you should be practicing all week long and all year round. Cleanliness drives shouldn’t be limited to Mumbai school children only, but make sure that cleanliness “drives” each and every Mumbaikar! If “charity begins at home”, cleanliness does too.
As individuals, we can’t aim to change policy and enforcement but yet each person can make a difference by following and spreading awareness about simple measures that don’t require major efforts.
Addressing the main issues, spitting seems to be the chartbuster for Mumbaikars. Public transport and railway stations seem to be a spitter’s paradise. “No Spitting” signs covered with red paan stains end up being a ‘hilarious’ picture forwarded to one and all. It isn’t any wonder that BEST buses and the lower half of local trains are painted with a reddish brown colour to camouflage these disgusting blots. We cannot let these shameless individuals continue to tarnish this city in this unhygienic way. So when they spray it, you better say it: “Sorry, this won’t do!”
The tiny lanes, the neighboring grounds, the bin areas, the pavements of this ultra modern city are adorned with all sorts of litter. Is it our carelessness or is it the authority’s ignorance? Whatever the reason maybe, the littered areas are an eyesore for the city. From simple things like disposal of wrappers in bins to avoiding the use of plastic bags, this is something every citizen should religiously follow. We who pride ourselves on being the citizens of Mumbai are directly or indirectly responsible for the garbage that has been accumulating here. What do we do about it? Simple! When you see someone throwing a wrapper, pick it up and say: “Sorry, this won’t do!”
Another disgusting and unhygienic aspect of this city is that blatancy and brazenness with which individuals use the street corners and compound walls as toilets. I strongly feel, the municipal authorities should provide more public toilets and do a better job of enforcing cleanliness in this regard. I cannot imagine this happening in any leading metropolitan city of the world. It is a shame that pictures of gods and goddesses have to be painted on walls as a deterrent to people urinating there. This appalling situation needs to be dealt with on a war footing giving them the message: “Sorry boss, this won’t do!”
One of the proactive ways everyone could play a responsible part in ensuring cleanliness in the entire city is to be a member of an ALM (Advanced Locality Management). These are localized groups functioning at lane, ward and sector levels. They undertake supervision and beautification projects in the vicinity. They co-ordinate with the local municipal office and get their problems addressed. For more information check out http://www.mcgm.gov.in/irj/portal/anonymous/qlvarprg If you’re only going to talk about cleanliness and not give any of your valuable time to movements like this, then let me tell you: “Sorry friend, this won’t do!”
For the young minds who are ace and adept at being active on various social media platforms, here’s something you could do in order to promote responsible behavior with regard to keeping our cities spic and span. For starters, one could create a page or group on Facebook which allows its members to post pictures of people caught red handed in the act. That’ll be fun! It would be a matter of days before this gets viral. The same could be replicated on Twitter, Instagram and other similar platforms.
So you see it’s all about getting involved and making a difference. You need to do something. It’s not enough just having good intentions. You may have a heart of gold, but so does a hardboiled egg!
If the ‘Father of the Nation’ could clean the latrines, I’m sure that his children in India’s leading metropolis could also follow suit!