For the first time after India’s Independence, we now have a leader who uttered the most precious words Swachh Bharath Until then most of our people assumed that our country has always been dirty and that we will remain so forever.
In a way, the Swachh Bharath movement has triggered a lot of conversations about how we can contribute towards the environment along with its main goal to make India clean again.
There’s no point in bragging about our glorious history and resplendent kingdoms if we can’t keep our public places clean and neat. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inspired this sense of pride among millions who now feel proud to be Bharatiyas and that has set in motion various initiatives to make our country great again.
Our Prime Minister speaks about the Amrit Kaal of our country which will usher a glorious period for India. How can this vision of his be applied in terms of a better environment for our people?
We now have the biggest population of working youth in the world. Even though our dense population comes with its challenges, the sheer number also gives us the power to surge forward in any field we want to.
This is indeed the best time to make the most and propel ourselves forward.
What can we do to make our world a better place?
First we need to realise that it’s not just the Government’s job to keep our cities and villages clean. If each and every Indian decides, we will be the cleanest country in a matter of days. Sadly most of us do not have this mindset which shows in almost everything that catches the eye. Things are changing but not fast enough it seems. Various youth organisations across the country like Youth for Seva, Youth for Parivarthan, The Ugly Indian to name a few among hundreds volunteer to participate in massive clean up of public places, water bodies and other important places and the results have been spectacular showing us what we can achieve collectively but this is not very sustainable. The sheer scale of work towards this is mind boggling.
Why do we ever dirty places in the first place? How do we change the mindset of our country?
Civic sense and responsibilities should be a major part of our curriculum from the start. It has to be drilled into our brains.
Waste management, water conservation, energy resource management should be basic knowledge of every child. The sheer size of our country is any civic agency’s nightmare. A city like Bangalore generates 4000 tonnes of waste a day! How much is it for the whole country? It’s staggering to just imagine it.
We are still a less wasteful country as many rural pockets still practice traditional waste management and water conservation techniques which have proven to be the most effective methods but western style wasteful urbanisation is creeping in everywhere at an alarming rate.
This is where the youth can help. Today’s youth is equipped with a wealth of information at the tip of their fingers. Best practices be it traditional or modern that will help protect natural resources and waste management is the need of the hour. If each and every educational institution takes up genuinely meaningful projects to educate, promote and implement these best practices, we would be witness to real time changes that would lead to positive changes in the environment. Climate change is something that we can no longer ignore. We’re witnessing alarming changes in the weather as we speak. If 8 billion people set their minds to it, can’t we make at least a dent?
India being the country with the highest population can be a major contributor towards this. How do we protect our rivers from getting polluted? How do we keep plastic away from our oceans? How do we keep our air from getting more toxic? How do we make sure our public spaces never get dirty?
If we just take the water security issue, How do we make sure everyone gets clean drinking water?
Our Prime Minister Modiji has himself said that only the government’s efforts towards water conservation is not enough, He stressed on the fact that public participation in water conservation is most important. The more efforts we make in this direction, the more positive the impact will be. Awareness is key.
Geo-mapping and geo-sensing technologies are making water conservation work more easy. Various startups run by mostly the youth are helping tremendously in this work.
This applies for almost all the civic issues we are currently facing. If each one of us takes ownership of what is around us, we would be able to achieve our PM’s dream of Amrit kaal in no time. Of course we need the government’s support at every step.
This isn’t an impossible dream. We have a leader who has shown us the way by honouring the invisible (read invincible) municipal worker by washing his feet and showing us how invaluable the person who takes care of our trash is. If everyone realised this value, we wouldn’t dirty our streets in the first place.
We would never sit back and watch others polluting our lakes and rivers, we wouldn’t let anyone spit on roads and public places! We would never throw garbage everywhere, we would never waste precious resources. Despite all the challenges, we are seeing great changes. We now have clean railway stations, most cities are trying their best to manage waste better under the Swach Bharat schemes, sustainable ideas for almost everything are easily available and people are slowly choosing the right things, traditional practices of water conservation and organic farming are making a come back among many other things.
More awareness and more public participation will take us one step closer to the Amrit Kaal that we all have now dared to dream of.