‘Let us dedicate ourselves to building the India of Gandhiji’s dreams.’ With this vision in mind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi initiated a ‘Clean India’ campaign in 2014. In over two and half years since the Swachh Bharat Mission started, more than 1,80,000 villages, 130 districts, and three states have been declared Open Defecation Free (ODF). The Swachh Bharat mission success simply shows how massive public health initiatives can succeed if implemented properly. Before the Clean India project began, merely 42 percent of Indians had access to clean toilets. Today that number has increased to 63 percent.
Swachh Bharat Mission taking rapid strides,rural toilet construction registers 320% growth pic.twitter.com/sBSIRUzBuj
— Suresh Prabhu (@sureshpprabhu) April 26, 2017
The Railway Ministry has also played a crucial role in the Swachh India campaign. Many steps towards a cleaner railways system have also been implemented, including plans to install bio-toilets on all coaches by 2019. In 2016, the railways also introduced a green corridor track (waste free track) of 141-km-long Okha-Kanalus route and the 34-km-long Porbandar-Wansjaliya. The 114-km long Rameswaram-Manamadurai section of Tamil Nadu was also identified. Efforts are being taken to make railways waste discharge-free completely. Till now, around 49,000 bio-toilets have been installed by Indian Railways in passenger coaches. Every day more and more efforts are being taken to improve the cleanliness on railways in India.
However, Suresh Prabhu is not the only one who has appreciated the Swachh India campaign. One of the world’s most successful and influential businessman and philanthropist, Bill Gates also recently wrote about how he “loved” the Clean India mission.
The Progress Report
The Swachh India mission has been hitting milestone after milestone and PM Narendra Modi recently announced that the states of Gujarat, Haryana, Uttarkhand were well on their way to becoming open defecation free soon. He also said that the government is making concerted efforts to make villages along the river Ganga open defecation free.
75 per cent villages along the banks of the Ganga in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal have already been declared as ODF. Not only that, there are proper waste management programmes planned as well so that garbage from the village does not pollute the river.
Apart from toilets, another big mantra which is being adopted by the government is ‘Waste To Wealth.’ The aims is to create wealth from household and construction waste and reduce the load of garbage from our planet. The waste collected then can be used to generate electricity, make fertilisers or even used in the construction of roads.
Various states and central government departments are taking measures to formulate proper policy and guidelines for waste segregation and management. The first step in this direction has been taken by the government as the Ministry of Urban Development recently issued guidelines to all states civic bodies in order to encourage source segregation of waste by introducing a two-bin system – wet waste in Green and dry waste in Blue.