- The waste at the JLN stadium consisted of discarded plastic bottles
- Lack of dustbins and cleaning volunteers resulted in such waste
- Organisers are arranging for more volunteers to keep the stadium clean
The World Cup fever in India has hit the right notes with the ongoing U-17 FIFA World Cup which got underway from October 6. The event, which sees India’s debut in a FIFA event, is also a global platform for India to showcase its ability to host tournament of a global scale and standard. But the sore sight of heaps of plastic bottles, wrappers and so on littered all over Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, post India’s match against United States on October 6, shows just how far we are from realising the dream of a Clean India.
The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) had increased its efforts to keep the venue clean during the course of the tournament and had deployed a team of 100 sanitation workers two weeks before the commencement of the tournament. Four auto tippers also ran throughout the day to collect excess garbage from the stadium itself and the area around it.
However, all the efforts seemed to have had no effect on the match day. The scenes at the end of the match between India and United States were of plastic packets, bottles and straws strewn all over the stadium and even in several areas outside it. Part of the problem was attributed to the inadequate number of dustbins in the stadium, forcing the spectators to dispose of empty plastic bottles and packets wherever they deemed fit. While 200 dustbins had been installed outside the stadium by the SDMC, the numbers inside the stadium were lesser, and were not adequate for the amount of waste generated on match days.
We spent two weeks cleaning the entire area in and around the stadium and got it ready for India’s inaugural match in the tournament. The rest of the maintenance responsibility lies with the Sports Authority of India. We are still cleaning up the garbage outside the stadium every morning. But keeping the stadium’s interiors is something the organisers should look into, said S.K. Singh, Deputy Commissioner, South Delhi Municipal Corporation.
Images of plastic bottles strewn around the stadium have already made their way to the social media and discussions have flooded on why the state of waste management continues to be pathetic, that too when a tournament of such a scale is being held.
We are currently discussing about the possibility of arranging for more volunteers and dustbins inside the stadium to ensure that it is cleaned up in a better manner. However, barring spectators to enter with plastic bottles or packets, as well as the sale of plastic packaged items inside the stadium would have been more effective as it would have ensured that there were no plastics in the stadium, said a Sports Authority of India official.
Delhi is scheduled to hold four matches of the tournament, two have already been held on October 6 and 9, and the remaining two are on October 12 and 16.
The World Cup itself is a global event and several international teams are visiting India. A clean tournament would have been our pride, along with our ability to host an event of such scale. But fans should be equally responsible in ensuring that cleanliness prevails during the tournament, said Subhayan Sengupta, a Delhi resident who had visited the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium for India’s second match.
Lack of dustbins inside the stadium is a legitimate concern, but this incident also highlights the attitude of people towards garbage disposal. For three years, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has been termed as a people’s movement and even on the occasion of the Abhiyan’s third anniversary, Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasised on cleanliness should be the responsibility of each individual and not just dependent on ministries or officials. But the U-17 World Cup incident shows the lack of discipline in discarding waste properly among Indians.