Voluntary cleanliness tribute drive across India - GulfToday

Voluntary cleanliness tribute drive across India

Meena Janardhan

Writer/Editor/Consultant. She has over 25 years of experience in the fields of environmental journalism and publishing.

The Swach Bharat Mission was originally started by Prime Minister Modi in 2014.

The Swach Bharat Mission was originally started by Prime Minister Modi in 2014. AFP

On the 105th episode of Mann Ki Baat (Talking from the heart) — an Indian radio programme hosted by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in which he addresses the people of the nation, Mr Modi appealed for one hour of shramdaan (voluntary work) for swachhata (cleanliness) at 10 am on 1st October by all citizens collectively as a ‘swachhanjali’ (cleanliness tribute) to Mahatma Gandhi on the eve of his birth anniversary on 2nd October.

This mega cleanliness drive — aimed at celebrating the ninth anniversary of India’s Swach Bharat Mission (Clean India Mission) — called upon citizens from all walks of life to join in actual cleaning activities at public places like market spaces, railway tracks, water bodies, tourist locations, places of worship etc. resulting in visible cleanliness. To facilitate the swachhata events, institutions, towns, local government bodies and ministries have added events for swachhata shramdaan on the Swachhata Hi Seva — Citizens Portal at https://swachhatahiseva.com/. Citizens could view the cleanliness events nearest to them on this specially-architectured IT platform and join to participate. At various locations of cleanliness, citizens could also click pictures during the shramdaan for swachhata and upload on the portal. The portal also hosts a section inviting citizens, influencers to join the andolan (revolution) and lead the people’s movement by becoming Swachhata Ambassadors.

Mr Hardeep Singh Puri, Indian Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs and Petroleum and Natural Gas, told the media that over 640,0000 sites have been adopted across urban and rural India. The cleanliness drive aims to clean Garbage Vulnerable Points, railway stations, airports and surrounding areas, roadsides, National and State Highways, water bodies, zoos and wildlife areas, hills, beaches, ports etc. The Minister said that in a first of its kind, army, navy, air force will be coming together with civilians to clean up various garbage vulnerable places.

Every town, all local bodies and all sectors of the government and public institutions, facilitated cleanliness events led by the citizens. A special portal was set up to help organisations put up different events. The portal also invited influencers and citizens to join this people’s movement as Swachhata Ambassadors. People could click pictures and upload them on the portal to mark their presence.

As per an India.com report, in Delhi, a minimum of two events in each of the city’s 250 wards and 500 sites were planned and a number of leading organizations had come forward to adopt sites for Swachhata. Stickers to create awareness regarding the ongoing Swachhta Hi Sewa (Cleanliness is Service) campaign have been placed on all garbage vehicles, swachhata jingles are being run on all door-to-door collection vehicles, circle-wise nodal officers were also assigned the responsibility of coordinating with sanitation, horticulture and civil department for carrying out sanitation drive at identified areas. Over 2000 school students have been visiting garbage transfer stations and centers where waste management demonstrations have been arranged for them to invoke a sense of responsibility towards waste and its management. Apart from this, hotels, clubs, hostels, old-age homes, resident associations, and financial and religious institutions have also been conducting sanitation drives. The dissemination of the programme details is being done through door-to-door campaigns, garbage collection vehicles etc. All public representatives including political leaders were invited to join the cleanliness drives and motivate common citizens to join the campaign and make it a milestone in India’s Swachhata journey.

A government press release said that, among the states, Uttar Pradesh adopted over 100,000 sites for cleanliness drives, whereas Maharashtra conducted cleanliness drives in over 62,000 locations with citizens joining in at beaches, religious places, schools/colleges, water bodies etc. In Telangana, volunteers targetted temples of historical significance across the State. Madhya Pradesh set the programme in motion in nearly 57,000 locations, whereas Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat planned to do so in nearly 40,000 & 35,000 locations, respectively.

The Swachh Bharat Mission was launched on October 2 in 2014 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In 2021, PM Modi introduced the Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban 2.0 with the objective of making all Indian cities ‘Garbage Free’ and ‘Water Secure.’ SBM-U 2.0 was initiated on October 1, 2021, which spans five years. The Swachh Bharat Mission-U 2.0 strives for 100% source segregation, door-to-door waste collection, scientific waste management of all fractions of waste including safe disposal in scientific landfills, and the remediation of legacy dumpsites into green zones.

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