Swachh Bharat Praharis: Guwahati Youths’ Initiative To Clean Up City
A casual plan on a Sunday afternoon among a group of friends is turning out to be a major initiative among a few residents of Guwahati. The same could have ended up like any other plan to visit Goa but a team of "Swachh Bharat Praharis" is pulling out all stops to make it successful.
Swachh Bharat Prahari (SBP) is a group of volunteers from Guwahati who believe in the idea of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. They started working on this mission from 22nd July last and people from various spheres of life have joined and supported the movement. As a part of their program, they have initiated “Mission 15th August.”
Amit Maloo, a resident of Guwahati and one of the founding members of SBP believes that it should be the responsibility of every individual to keep the nation clean. The idea behind Mission 15th August is to sensitize people about cleanliness. “Every year before Diwali or any major festival, people clean their homes. So, why not clean the nation before Independence Day? Independence Day is not only about hoisting the National Flag but it comes with a responsibility; a responsibility that the citizens of a nation must abide by every day. A pledge to come together and keep nation our clean,” he added.
Members of the group posted their idea on Facebook which received a very good response from the public.
“The main idea behind this program is to communicate with the government machinery and share our ideas with them to make this mission a success. We have also communicated our ideas and problems with various NGOs and government officials too,” said Amit to G Plus.
The on-ground report
Amit said that their on-ground findings led them to asses that the government has been working to resolve the issue of cleanliness, but the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) workers do not have sufficient raw materials. Apart from the lack of funds and raw materials, there is a need for awareness among people concerning cleanliness.
Ravi Dhoot, a co-founder of the movement said, “Our team is focusing on creating awareness among street vendors, commercial shops & establishments and parks. In the next phase, we will be focusing on residential areas and educational intuitions.”
The team has been communicating with the masses about their mission and explaining to them the pros and cons of cleanliness. Their main objective is to clean Guwahati city and change the mindset of people concerning cleanliness. They have also provided an appreciation tag of “Swachhata Hero” to diligent citizens who are trying to keep the city clean.
On the occasion of Friendship Day, the SBPs visited various areas in Guwahati with a mass campaign to keep the city clean. They also conducted a street play to raise awareness about cleanliness on the streets of Fancy Bazar.
Speaking to G Plus the SBP team said, "Our mission is not a one day mission but a continuous process to bring a structural change in people’s habits and mentality towards cleanliness and sanitation. We are meeting people and warning them about how unhygienic conditions can lead to diseases like Japanese Encephalitis, Malaria or Dengue."
"Cleanliness would also be vital in solving the problem of flash floods in Guwahati. We have witnessed people throwing garbage in the drains through manholes, but if a net is used to cover the drains, we can prevent garbage from entering the drain which, in turn, will stop the drain from overflowing," he added.
The SBP team is attempting to make people more sensitive about improper garbage disposal rather than questioning officials every single time.
“While we are leading the initiative, we want everyone to come and join us to keep this mission alive. A relay race cannot be won alone and this is a very similar instance," said Maloo.
Their team has pointed out several areas in the city that emit a foul odour when passing by and have also identified 10-12 dumping areas with no garbage bins, due to which garbage is dumped on the roadside. In certain cases, the capacity and the number of garbage bins have been insufficient.
According to team SBPs groundwork, some of the major issues which require immediate attention include non-availability of garbage bins and garbage collectors, no strict law and monitoring to penalize violations, failure of restaurants to pay for proper garbage disposal, non-availability of small spit bins and a few others. These should be further monitored with CCTVs and overloaded garbage bins and sufficient garbage collection carts need to be actioned on priority.
To name a few, lack of public awareness regarding GMC rules and regulations, non-availability of squads, especially during night hours, regulations related to dustbins at commercial outlets are being violated.
Recently, GMC has initiated a new plan that involves the active participation of citizens in keeping the city clean. Authorities from GMC have appealed to citizens to send photographs of people littering the roads via WhatsApp or e-mail and citizens would be awarded prize money of Rs 500.
Members of SBP said that they also expect the GMC to aggressively implement the fine of Rs 500 for public littering.
Members of the Swachh Bharat Prahari want Guwahatians to come up and support this movement and be a part of it.