We’ve heard it in school and followed it religiously through our lives — cleanliness is next to godliness. The only problem is that we seem to forget this rule the minute we step out of our homes! Public spaces are littered with all kinds of waste without any concern for the environment or the aesthetics of the city. The rich and the poor, the educated and the unlearned, everybody’s guilty of littering.
Apart from that, one of the biggest concerns in India is the ubiquitous tobacco stains. From public offices and streets to tourist spots, they’re everywhere, and no ‘Swachh Bharat’ movement seems to be solving the problem.
Thankfully, some citizens have decided to take matters into their own hands. Two young Delhi residents are doing their bit to fix the city.
They Mean to Clean
Marketing professionals Maneesh Khurana and Swati Bhalla are busy with their jobs. However, on weekends, they’re seen with brooms, paints, brushes, and a team of young volunteers, transforming public spots in the city.
Speaking to indibeat, Swati said, “I always felt that cleanliness is not the responsibility of the government alone; citizens need to play an active role too. I finally launched my own initiative in October 2014 on Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary. It’s a coincidence that the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was also launched that day!”
The initiative, which is now called We Mean To Clean, has successfully carried out a number of spot fixing drives with the help of young volunteers including school students.
The Attitude Shift
The last three years have been challenging yet exciting for the duo. One of their biggest tasks is to get more and more people to care for the cause.
According to Manish, “There has been a mixed set of responses from Delhiites — from those who mocked us, saying such things don’t work in India, to those who got inspired by our cleanliness drive. There’s a bunch of people who are happy with just hitting a ‘Like’ or sharing our posts on social media. On the other hand, there are those who have taken a lead in many of our drives.”
Both, Manish and Swati, believe that there has been a shift in the attitude of the people towards cleanliness, but they also know that there’s still a long way to go.
The Way Ahead
Speaking about their next steps, they said, “We wish to involve more people in the group by inspiring the society with our actions. We not only want to look at cleanliness in public spaces, but also waste management and air pollution.”
“Some of our members are composting their organic waste at home. We would like all our volunteers to adopt this practice so that we can inspire others to do the same,” they added.
So if you are in Delhi and wish to contribute, you can offer to volunteer with them. You can also visit their website and request a spot-fix in your area. And most importantly, you can pledge to not litter in public spaces and stop those who do!
If you like what Manish and Swati are doing, please share this post and spread the word.
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