Our immense penchant for throwing litter around doesn’t seem to die down. We talk at great length about keeping our country clean and are only too ready to point a finger at the government if we find the streets and public areas dirty. We share posts of “Swacch Bharat Abhiyan” in the virtual world. But at the end of all this, what do we do in reality? We throw waste in the open. As students one is taught in school to keep one’s surroundings clean. However, once we grow up and become adults, we forget that it is our duty and not the government’s alone to do that.
A colleague narrated how commuters in the Delhi Metro break all rules, which are displayed and constantly announced, to litter the stations and trains. Taking the newly-opened Magenta Line on an opening day last week, she was impressed by the swanky look of the train’s beautiful and vibrant interior. But returning home in the evening on the same line, she was in for a shock. A few empty packets of chips were thrown here and there, apart from an empty plastic water bottle that was rolling around. Someone had munched peanuts and the shells had been scattered around apart from some potato chips that had been dropped and kept getting crushed by commuters. How does one even think of throwing garbage in a neat and well-maintained space, she wondered.
In another incident a while back, a young girl left behind a tissue paper on her seat as she got up to deboard. A stern-looking middle-aged lady sitting on the opposite side promptly called out to her and instructed her to pick it up. It invited quite a few stares for the young lady, who, with an embarrassed smile, picked up the offending tissue, explaining that it was inadvertently done.
The question is, isn’t it our collective responsibility as citizens to keep our surroundings and public spaces clean? Why do we always depend on others to clean up for us?