TODAY -

Swachch Bharath Swasth Bharath

Parikshit Thoudam *



Cleanliness is next to godliness. This is a proverb we have been introduced to as a young child. However, when we look at the sanitary practices and cleanliness we maintain in our surrounding, we realize the challenge that lay ahead of us. India's rich history has been a testimony to the importance of clean surroundings. The Indus Valley Civilization had a proper covered-sewerage system and more significantly, every house had its own toilet and washroom.

Ironically, the 21st Century India is yet to achieve this feat but we do see signs of change. The Government of India on 2nd October 2014 launched the Swachch Bharath Abhiyaan with the aim of creating the infrastructure required to build a clean India. Launching such an initiative on the birth date of our great leader is symbolic of the aspirations associated with the program.

Gandhiji was a paragon of cleanliness and he used it as a tool to unite India by breaking the caste divide and sending out the message to the public that people involved in the menial task of cleaning do not belong to the lower strata of the society but are a citizens of the country fulfilling his/ her duties as enshrined in the Fundamental Duties of our Constitution.

Taking the bull by the horn then, let us first ask ourselves why at all cleanliness is important? As per the definition rendered by the World Health Organisation (WHO), good health is "a state of physical, mental and emotional well-being and NOT the mere the absence of disease" and undoubtedly, there is NO GOOD HEALTH without a hygenic environment. Our earth is a closed system and anything we introduce into it as waste product lingers around unless we process it or take measures so that it is properly degraded. If not, it has huge repercussions on human as well as animal health.

The idea of Swachch Bharatha Abhiyaan is to create an avenue for proper waste management for the overall well-being of society. It focuses on providing total sanitation to all the people. We have so far been successful in declaring up to 5 states as Open Defecation Free (ODF) but we still have 21 states to go before declaring ourself as an ODF nation.

This is extremely important as fecal matter lying out in the open can be a breeding ground for a wide variety of vectors and pathogens which can cause and spread diseases. In the past, the developing countries faced a lot of problems due to open defecation causing diseases such as cholera, dysentery, etc. Proper initiatives have been able to curtail this crisis to a considerable extent.

Currently, India has a high burden of diseases such as malaria, dengue, cholera etc and immediate steps have to be taken to lower the incidence of such diseases in the future. Let us remind ourselves of the immense economic and social costs that come with diseases. In this world of interconnectedness, it is very easy to pick a few microbes from a place a thousand kilometers away and if the condition of the destination is not clean and hygienic, the inbound pathogen can spread like wildfire.

One major challenge in implementing the ODF campaign is that even though the facility of a toilet is installed, many people still continue to defecate in the open. Certain orthodox communities does not find the idea of using the toilet as it shares space with the puja mandal or the kitchen and lies within the four corners of the house.

Therefore, it is important to study how many people actually do use the toilet instead of using it as a store-room. Here, lies the need for a behavioral change in the people which can be achieved through proper education and awareness programs like the Darwaza Bandh and the Swachch Grahi Campaign. Even the small act of washing hands before eating can protect a person from harmful pathogens and diseases.

The predicament of females in matters related to their menstrual health is also an impediment in expediting the process of tapping the huge demographic dividend of the country. India in her journey of 70 years since independence has come a long way but we have many lacunae to fill. Women and teenage girls in rural areas even today do not know about sanitary pads let alone having access to one. Resorting to other unhygienic means, they fall victim to diseases such as cervical cancer.

In fact, teenage girls are not informed or educated about their menstrual cycle and end up hiding such development from their families undergoing the mental agony and turmoil that the onset of puberty ttriggers. We need to increase awareness, inform girls and urge parents to avoid such consequences. Improving the ease of accessibility of sanitary pads for the underprivileged section should be one of the primary objective of the government. It is important we ensure proper disposal of the pads so that it does not serve as the breeding ground for microbes.

The dawn of industrialised economy has definitely alleviated many out of abject poverty but there is a flip side to industrialisation. Today, environmental degradation and exploitation is a major challenge the world today faces. Pollution of all types, ranging from air to water to soil has been creating havoc in our society.

The toxic fumes we emit into our atmosphere has caused and is causing serious health problems. Let us take the case of Delhi. Compounded by the weather conditions, every winter Delhi is blanketed by a thick smog so severe that schools and offices are forced to close down while the people, especially the infants, face respiratory issues. This is bound to happen, in fact, worsen with every coming year if proper steps are not taken. The exodus of migrants pouring into our urban centers is putting a huge strain on their resources.

Small steps such as greater use of public transport, car pooling, adoption of eco-friendly means of energy production can go a long way in improving the conditions of our urban centers. Another area of concern is the solid waste management. Clearly, our installed infrastructure is unable to cater the huge amount of waste we generate every day. Our landfill sites are getting over-burdened and the waste continues to pile up even as you read this article. We must adopt methods of waste segregation so as to separate the organic waste from other recyclable wastes create products with a monetary value.

This idea of circular economy remains unexplored in our country and could be an answer to the continued jobless growth. Else, landfill sites will continue to encroach more and more land in the already land-starved urban areas while generating tons of Greenhouse gases and other toxic gases affecting human health and our favorite Climate change!

Solid waste also ends up clogging our sewer and gullies and in an event of moderate to high rainfall, hell break loose and flash flood strikes bringing the economy to its knees and also paving the way for the proliferation of vector-borne diseases. Have we not learned enough from the flood we have experienced in cities like Mumbai and Chennai?

Let us look at another aspect of our biosphere water. Today there are many households in the country without access to potable water. In an unhygienic environment, it is extremely difficult to produce and transfer potable water. Our continued disposal of gray and black water into the water bodies have deteriorated their condition.

For instance, even though it has been the top priority to clean the mighty Ganges, no government has been overtly successful in the task. The coliform bacteria count of this river has crossed leaps and bounds and the water continues to be a potent source of diseases. Another example is of the Silicon Plateau Bengaluru.

Many of its magnificent artificial lakes dug by its founder Kempegowda is either lost or is in a completely degraded state. These lakes being highly polluted froths, causing the residents to remain indoor for it poses a major health risk. Keeping these developments in mind it is urgently required that we create the infrastructure to treat our wastewater. Here, lies an opportunity for greater private and public investments, international cooperation and learning from the global best practices such as water purification and conservation technology developed by Israel.

If we want to declare the entire nation as CLEAN INDIA, we need to join our hands together and work for it. We need greater community participation and sense of belongingness for our environment. Our scientific and technological prowess can be leveraged to ensure proper implementation of schemes and develop new tools and techniques for environment conservation. All in all, it is imperative that we develop a holistic approach to waste management and ensure a Swachch Bharath as was envisioned by Gandhiji and reap the benefits of Swasth Bharath which comes naturally as a result of clean and hygienic environment.


* Parikshit Thoudam wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is 5th Year BS-MS (Dual Degree), Department of Biological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Bhopal
This article was posted on November 19, 2017.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Apangba Manao :: Funga Wari
  • Sangai : Evening @BOAT #4 : Gallery
  • Nupi Lan : Women Agitation, 1939-40 #3
  • Aquatic edible insects of Loktak
  • Pet dogs on a killing spree
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Life is a beauty :: Poem
  • Certificate distribution at East Sikkim
  • Of good governance
  • Let's celebrate womanhood too
  • Mary Kom - Meethoileima : Gallery
  • Cultivation of low Chilling Apple Variety
  • Sangai Fest: Nagaland : Gallery
  • Human Rights Day & Draconian law
  • Oh! Joy of being veteran
  • War and Peace :: Poem
  • Bali Jatra- Odisha's maritime heritage
  • Understanding nature's gift
  • SC stand on victims of rape
  • Nupi Lal Ningsing Lamjel #1: Gallery
  • Chingningthou, Chaonu :: eMing
  • Chengni Khujai: Insurgency Chronicle #2
  • Taboo of Casteism in Manipur
  • Cry of a Dying River - 57 :: Poem
  • Understanding CMA as career
  • Smallest Child's Heart operated at SKY
  • Channeling the drive
  • Big anti-incumbency factor: Lok Sabha poll
  • Lamklai Kummoi Maring Fest #3: Gallery
  • Nupi Lan : Women Agitation, 1939-40 #2
  • Sangai Day 1: Inauguration #4 : Gallery
  • Tibetan Refugees in India :: Review
  • Nongpok Thong Hangba ...opportunities
  • Significance of Panti Neimei
  • Memoirs of love :: Poem
  • Developers required for Jobsenz @ NIELIT
  • On assembly election victory of Congress
  • The day after tomorrow
  • Kudos to rights defenders
  • Sangai Fest: Maibi Jagoi : Gallery
  • NEROCA FC Vs Indian Arrows : Gallery
  • Nupi Lan : Women Agitation, 1939-40 #1
  • Promoting Human Rights: A Perspective
  • Khongji :: Poem
  • Surveying tigers: A big challenge in Manipur
  • Terrorism & Technology - II
  • Silencing significance of Human Right Day
  • Trun up to Parliamentary polls: Issues
  • Deteriorating Tumukhong Village road
  • Sangai Fest: Chareng Len : Gallery
  • International Mountain Day, 2018
  • Loudness not ok please
  • A wounded Pine Tree :: Poem
  • Natural remedies for hair growth
  • BEHS office inaugurated at Motbung
  • Tattooed With Taboos :: Review
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Stone Forest @Yunnan, China : Gallery
  • Eerie, Eerier, Eeriest :: Review
  • Sangai Fest: Muay Thai : Gallery
  • ..that made me fall in love with Naga
  • Research Support Officer wanted
  • Condemns arrest of Journalist Wangkhem
  • Programs at Public Health Foundation
  • Fixing the broken window
  • Head count of dogs !!
  • Pari Imom (Film) #2 :: eRang
  • Matheous Thingbaijam Cycling NE: Gallery
  • Gwangju Prize for Human Rights 2019
  • Tests for allergies
  • Cycling across NE: Matheous Thingbaijam
  • Site Officer/ Manager @R-Square Design
  • Armed Forces Flag Day celebrated
  • A lasting legacy
  • 'Stray dogs' as predators
  • Sangai Day 3: Pung Chollom #2: Gallery
  • Thai Princess @Imphal Airport: Gallery
  • Fashion Show @Sangai Fest #1: Gallery
  • Mysterious Animal Attack of Manipur
  • Khelen Thokchom Media Fellowships
  • Career option in Purchase Management
  • Terrorism & Technology - I
  • Intimidation to media person
  • Ban on hunting migratory birds
  • Manipuri Diaspora in Myanmar #3
  • Sangai Day 3: Pena: Gallery
  • I am a beautiful HIV Virus :: Poem
  • Teacher & Student: Stop eroding education
  • Diaspora unites at Thadou Nampi, USA
  • Deciding Mary's title :: WJ
  • A good man perspective
  • Now people need to extend co-operation
  • Day 3: Kabi Burnan : Gallery
  • Art meets Fashion : Gallery
  • Sangai Day 5: @ BOAT #3: Gallery
  • NAF announces Annual Scholarship
  • Preventing methods to save livestock
  • How Do You Do ? :: Poem
  • Competitiveness of Manipur
  • Shattered dream - "The Smart city"
  • Arrest, release & re-arrest of young man
  • Ningol Chakouba @ MBC #3 : Gallery
  • Sangai Day 3: Thang Ta #3: Gallery
  • Stalls at Hapta Kangjeibung #1: Gallery
  • How do you see 'disability' today ?
  • I don't exist without polo: Rafael Secco
  • The Road :: Poem
  • Students needed for cultural revolution?
  • Hard stand, hard decision
  • Cong rolling up sleeves ahead of LS polls
  • Day 8 : Arambai Langba : Gallery
  • Sangai Day 2: Evening Program #3: Gallery
  • The Midnight Hunter : Analysis
  • Art exhibition "Art meets Fashion"
  • The Haipi Lho-lhun Kut
  • Gaudiya Vaishnavism in Meitei Nation #3
  • Sangai Day 9: Thadou Dance: Gallery
  • Sangai Chef: Cooking Final : Gallery
  • Han Kang's The White Book
  • Sangai Day 4: Yubi Lakpi : Gallery
  • Sangai Chef: Season 1 Cooking Final
  • Disaster Management Course at NEHU
  • Training on Online Fact Checking
  • Clarify : Impact of Act East Policy
  • On the series of Killing of Livestock..
  • Today is World AIDS Day
  • From entrails to body now
  • NESO : abolish Citizenship Bill
  • NEC building cultural centre at Delhi
  • 12th Manipur Polo Intl #1 : Gallery
  • Sangai Day 9: Kabui Dance : Gallery
  • Day 5: Stalls @Keibul Lamjao: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 2: Holi Pala #1: Gallery
  • Importance of TESOL in Government School
  • Farewell to Lt Gen LN Singh, VSM**
  • Waphong Inthan - A failed village
  • On the arrest of Kishorchand
  • Blank Editorial
  • Predator or predators on the prowl
  • Thai Princess visit Kangla #1: Gallery
  • December Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • Sangai Day 8: Mukna Kangjei #1: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 2: Evening Program #2: Gallery
  • Polo grows on you: Col Tarsem
  • Rediscovery of Gangmumei Kamei: Review
  • For whom does she cry ? :: Poem
  • DG Assam Rifles visits Manipur
  • Detention of TV journalist not fair
  • Arrest of 8 mountaineers from Manipur
  • Sangai Day 4: Lai Haraoba #1: Gallery
  • Bangladesh Manipuri Students : Gallery
  • Sangai Day 3: Pung Chollom #1: Gallery
  • We have a balanced team: George Shelton
  • Cry of a Dying River - 56 :: Poem
  • Sangai with Sumo & Samba ?
  • Morphing : An innocent loses her life
  • Bangladesh Manipuri students at Sylhet
  • Thai princess visits Kangla Fort
  • Olympics gold my dream : Mary Kom
  • Exploring the beaten path
  • Opening up Manipur: Visa office assurance
  • Thai Princess Sirindhorn @Sangai : Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2018 #5: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 6: Pherzawl Dance : Gallery
  • Manipuri Maichou 7 :: Book Review
  • Chandon :: Poem
  • Conservation of biodiversity
  • Defers proposed indefinite highway bandh
  • 19th Hornbill Festival at Kisama
  • Sangai stops dancing
  • Mary Kom: Epitome of sporting excellence
  • Sangai Day 5: Evening Prog #1 : Gallery
  • Sangai Day 5: Thailand Dance : Gallery
  • Sangai Day 2: Imphal Art Camp : Gallery
  • Edward Armstrong - USA Polo Team
  • An abrupt journey to an oasis of blue bull
  • Winter Blues :: Poem
  • Technical Internship Training for Japan
  • NPF on Nagaland Deputy Chief Minister
  • A ditch to Technology
  • Border row: India Myanmar, sacrificial lamb
  • Sangai Day 4: Pena Esei :Gallery
  • Day 5: Sangai Chef: Season 1 : Gallery
  • Sangai Day 2: Evening Program #1: Gallery
  • Sangai Festival 2018: Turning into a Mela?
  • Sumo Wrestling: popular event in Sangai
  • Sangai Chef: Season 1: Cooking : Day 5
  • Truths in rumours & humours
  • PANE Conference organized at AUDC
  • Sangai Day 2: Dance from Kamjong: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 3: Thang Ta #1: Gallery
  • Can we have the Sangai festival daily?
  • Platonic love :: Poem
  • IGAR(s) congratulates Mary Kom
  • WPW Syndrome operated and cured
  • NSUD clarification on Nagas' Meet
  • National Highway bandh from Nov 27
  • Prospective candidates of Cong, BJP
  • Sangai Day 2: Sumo Wrestling #1: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 2: Myanmar : Gallery
  • Sangai Day 2: Geet Govinda: Gallery
  • 2017- a watershed year for Manipur Polo
  • Faculties (PG) at Gauhati University
  • Biodiversity for economic development #2
  • Mera Kongchat Mass Rally #4: Gallery
  • Sangai Chef: Season 1 : Day 1
  • GC Tongbra's 'Chengni Khujai'
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Thy name :: Poem
  • Bartending as a career option #2
  • Legal Awareness Programme
  • Tribute to Bhupen Hazarika at London
  • Blessing for Manipur
  • Cherry Blossom & Sangai: beyond Imphal
  • Sangai Fest: Inauguration #2 : Gallery
  • Mera Wayungba #2 : Gallery
  • Ningol Chakouba @Pune : Gallery
  • ChingTam Ningol Chakouba @Goa: Gallery
  • Ningol Chakouba @ Mysore #2 : Gallery
  • Scaramouche, Fandango, Galileo, Figaro..
  • Laija (Film Scenes) #1 :: eRang
  • Ningol Chakouba @ Dubai #2 : Gallery
  • Rajkumar Jhaljit : Sahityaratna 2017
  • Ningol - mapam lamdam : Gallery
  • Mera Houchongba @Konung #3: Gallery
  • Fabrics of Bangladeshi Manipuri: Download
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Eepan Thaba #1: Gallery
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2018 : Download
  • mtM :: Seireng
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #4: Gallery
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS