Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was officially launched on October 2, 2014 at Rajghat, New Delhi, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is India’s largest ever cleanliness drive with 3 million government employees, and especially school and college students from all parts of India, participating in the campaign. Ever since the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan getting much needed importance people are cleaning the surroundings in a very big way and that is shaping up very well as people do not want litter public places and that include roads and the parks in a city. Having realised the importance and enjoying the benefits of having a clean and green city we would like to extend its reach in other aspects of life as well.
Even though we have established roots for such a campaign on cleanliness with effect from April 1, 1999, the government of India restructured the Comprehensive Rural Sanitation Programme and launched the Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) which was later (on 1 April 2012) renamed Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA). Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan was restructured by Cabinet approval on September 24, 2014 as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan aims to eradicate open defecation by 2019. It is a national campaign, covering 4,041 statutory cities and towns and it is a constructive approach to avoid health hazards by keeping the city and its environment neat and clean.
It is a common sight to see dog owners taking their dogs out in the early mornings or late evenings or anytime they like to respond to their nature’s call on the roads and making the streets filthy. This regular practice of dogs’ peeing or defecating on the roads as well as inside residential complexes has to stop. It is time now that the owners should know how to handle the poo habits of their pets and at the same time take proper responsibility of their pets. Let it be loudly known that it is just not tolerable to let the pets out to litter on the roads, let alone other nuisances to the neighbourhood and even threat to others’ life emanating from these dogs and their stylish lovers.
This is not the first time that corporations have issued a notice for imposing penalties on pet owners with regard to the filthiness caused by their pets on the roads. Several notices were issued earlier also to deter people from littering the city by spitting, urinating and throwing garbage. But these could not implemented. In most countries, littering on the roads by pets is banned. Pet owners take full responsibility of keeping the roads litter-free by keeping the pets on leash while walking on the roads, carrying a bag with them to take the dog’s shit on the roads back home for disposal.
In India, we fail to understand the crux of the problem and we take everything for our convenience resulting in failure to address the health hazards in a proper way. We lag behind developed countries by 20 years and never care for picking the dog’s shit from the street to provide a better environment and thereby avoiding spreading of diseases. The state government was able to curb spitting to certain extent in public places as we are almost successful in avoiding plastic bags in the city to prevent clogging of drainage system during monsoon season. The drive, ‘Scoop Your Pet’s Poop’ will be launched and it should be given pride of place as in the case Swachh Bharat Abhiyan to make it a successful one in the days to come. We all long for a clean and greener Mumbai and the dog owners should also extend their helping hand and set an example in this exercise.