Impact of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan on Environment

Wednesday 27 April 2016

The need for maintaining right cleanliness, sanitation and hygiene in any community cannot be gainsaid. It is perhaps the most basic step towards keeping diseases at bay. Poor hygiene and cleanliness is one of the worst enemies of young children. The fact that diarrhoea and malnutrition are two leading causes of under-5 deaths in India substantiates this. It is therefore imperative to have sanitation and hygiene intact, both at personal and community level, to improve health of masses. 

However, even several decades after independence, India has failed to achieve the requisite cleanliness levels. We often see open garbage dumps, overflowing drains, and open defecation taking place at numerous places. NGOs like Save the Children already have various Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) projects running in different parts of India through which it is working to improve the hygiene and sanitation status of lakhs of children and their communities. These NGOs run on donations from individuals supporting the cause. 

To promote robust maintenance of cleanliness, the Government of India rolled its flagship scheme Swachh Bharat Abhiyan on October 2, 2014. The programme covers 4041 statutory towns of the country to clean their roads, streets and other public infrastructure.  On the day of the launch, Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself wielded broom and cleaned a public road. The Swachh Bharat campaign has been dubbed as the country’s biggest cleanliness drive ever. The President of India, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee also requested every Indian citizen to participate in the campaign and spend a minimum of 100 hours in this drive annually. This campaign also garnered full support by the Indian Army, Indian Air Force, Border Security Force, media houses and various civil society organizations.

A whopping 3 million Indian students and government employees took part in this event. With PM Narendra Modi being at the helm, the programme got a great kick-off and he was required to nominate 9 well-known personalities for the campaign. The personalities further nominated 9 more people, which formed a chain of people participating in the campaign. Since then it has been actively carried forward through the participation of many influential famous people from all walks of life.
  

Objectives of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
 

  • Construction of community, cluster and individual toilets.
  • To eliminate or lessen open defecation in rural areas. Open defecation among one of the prime reasons of behind the deaths of under 5 children every year.
  • Apart from the construction of latrines, the Swachh Bharat campaign also looks to establish an accountable and well-planned mechanism of monitoring their use.
  • Public awareness programmes to be provided to people in order to tell them about the drawbacks of defecating in open and to promote the use of latrines.
  • Recruitment of a staunch ground staff to bring about a big behavioural change in people and promote the use of latrines at a micro-level.
  • Proper management of liquid and solid waste in villages in order to keep them clean and disease-free.
  • To setup a network of water pipelines in rural areas, ensuring a regular water supply to people by the year 2019.
  • To construct toilets separately for girls and boys in all Indian schools.
  • To provide the toilet facility to all Aanganwadis
  • Construction of community, cluster and individual toilets.
  • To eliminate or lessen open defecation in rural areas. Open defecation among one of the prime reasons of behind the deaths of under 5 children every year.
  • Apart from the construction of latrines, the Swachh Bharat campaign also looks to establish an accountable and well-planned mechanism of monitoring their use.
  • Public awareness programmes to be provided to people in order to tell them about the drawbacks of defecating in open and to promote the use of latrines.
  • Recruitment of a staunch ground staff to bring about a big behavioural change in people and promote the use of latrines at a micro-level.
  • Proper management of liquid and solid waste in villages in order to keep them clean and disease-free.
  • To setup a network of water pipelines in rural areas, ensuring a regular water supply to people by the year 2019.
  • To construct toilets separately for girls and boys in all Indian schools.
  • To provide the toilet facility to all Aanganwadis

Apart from cleanliness and disease-prevention, the Swachh Bharat campaign will also lead to notable economic development for the country.  Tourism generates approximately 6.5% of India’s total GDP and over 40 million Indian citizens derive their income from this sector. The biggest problem faced by the Indian government while promoting tourism in the country is cleanliness.  Swachh Bharat campaign will help in fostering employment through tourism which will in turn boost India's GDP.andwill have penetrating and far-reaching impact by improving the economic status and overall well-being of more and more people, including children. The government has been influenced by Singapore’s idea of undergoing a cleanliness drive in 1970’s. It transformed the country into an FDI magnet and this led to a steep surge in its economic growth

According to a study by WHO, lack of cleanliness leads to an annual loss of over Rs 6500 every year to each Indian. Unhygienic surroundings are the prime reason behind several diseases that are prevalent in the country. The campaign aims to plug this loss so to ease the pressure on the current healthcare facilities. 

On an individual level, it is imperative that we support this campaign by the Government and maintaining clean surroundings. One can also donate to a charity working for this cause. Remember, donation and tax benefits go hand-in-hand. Cleanliness will go a long way in keeping a check on the spread of diseases like diarrhoea among children.

As part of our landmark 'Every Last Child' campaign, we are working relentlessly to improve the lives of two million of India’s most excluded and vulnerable children, including 500,000 children currently living on the streets. Be a part of this movement