Some glaring truths: the filthy side of India

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan – Cleaning up India

This month the Prime Minister of India launched the "Swachh Bharat" or "Clean India" campaign. The campaign has struck a chord with millions of Indians, yet it's left many wondering how practical it is to free India of the mountains of garbage that line every other street in merely five years.

Without a well-planned and well-executed mechanism in place, cleaning up India will remain a Herculean task. A country like ours, rich in talent and man-power – can make use of resources to speed up the process. If every Indian comes together to push the government to follow such models, wouldn't this be possible?

Instead of watching from the side-lines, here’s how we can draw inspiration from three other countries. We must push the government to put such practices in place and perhaps invest in sustainable models of our own.

How these countries are doing it right: Cleaning up their Act

1) Sweden gets recycling right!

"Sweden imports garbage from other European countries."

Isn't it strange that a country would actually import waste or garbage from other countries? The 'recycling revolution' in Sweden has ensured that the country has almost 99% recycling of all the waste generated.

The recycling revolution that is taking over Sweden ensures that the waste in Sweden is collected, burnt in the "waste-to-energy" plants and converted to steam that powers turbines to generate heat and electricity in households.

Sweden has perfected this method to such an extent that they actually import the waste from neighbouring European countries.

Don't you think we have enough waste, currently, to generate electricity and power our rural areas?

Source: Huffington Post

2) Istanbul combines humanity and recycling.

Like our country, Istanbul also shelters a lot of stray cats and dogs. However, Istanbul has a unique way of allowing people to recycle bottles through dog food dispensers.

Engin Girgin, a lover of animals, combined the need to feed strays and recycle, and came up with this unique dispenser. Pugedon, a company that produces steam boilers, was convinced by Grigin to manufacture these dog food dispensers.

Every time you insert a used/empty bottle into the dispenser, it allows a certain amount of dog food to be allotted in a container. The dispenser unit also allows you to empty the remaining water into containers for the dogs to drink from.

Source: BigThink.com

3) What Songdo, the City of the Future can teach us

Songdo in South Korea, was once a swampy marshland. The government filled in 500 thousand tons of sand to build this 'City of the Future'.

In Songdo, one of the most admirable developments is that every building is connected with an underground system of pipes. The pipes suck in waste that is generated in every building. The waste is automatically sorted and sent to a waste collection plant. The sorted waste is then recycled, buried or burned for fuel accordingly. The whole system requires only about seven employees.

Source: MSN

Where will we now discard our waste?

The Government plans to allot almost 2 lakh crore Rs. to clean up our country. However, concerns have risen on where this amount is coming from, and how exactly is it going to be spent.

The need of the hour is to have practical, working and long-term solutions that can tackle our ugly menace head on. These are just a few examples of successful waste management methods that are keeping their countries clean and sanitised.

While these systems cannot be replicated in its precise form, we must remember that several countries are dealing with both, their limitations and resources to ensure a hygienic and clean life for their citizens.

Let's also not forget to provide better living and working conditions to scavengers and ragpickers – the "lower" strata of society that are in the face of our discarded and stinking waste daily.

In addition to the #MyCleanIndia campaign launched by the current Government, we need such innovative means – merely cleaning up the backyard with a broom isn't going to make India clean by 2019.

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