Developing at a breakneck pace, India is one of those nations that are under continual emphasis from the rest of the world and has captured quite a lot of attention within the last decade. With towering skyscrapers to the vast land expanses dedicated to only factory floors, India has come a long way from those old days of the imperial reign. While India is moving forward, it is almost impossible to ignore the damage that development has wrecked on the surrounding environment and ecology. India ranks quite high on the list of polluted countries in the world, and this is indeed a cause for grave concern.
To tackle the problem of environmental degradation, the Prime Minister launched a national campaign on October 2nd, 2014 that focuses on introducing better practices that would help combat the effects. It is the most significant cleanliness drive that has ever been launched by the Government of India with approximately 3 million participants ranging from government employees to school students playing an active role in the campaign. Schools and colleges witnessed a massive turnout from the student and faculty bodies to take part in this campaign. The mission was also aimed at connecting people from different walks of life and economic statuses to share one common objective.
The main objective of this national campaign was to remove the concept of open defecation and improve the sanitary conditions prevailing within the country. The purpose of this campaign was to reach out to people beneath the poverty line to construct latrines, provide water pumping facilities, better drainage systems, and disposal of waste effluents and generally providing an overall awareness program about the health hazards associated with open defecation. This program also looked to reduce the number of scavengers and manual laborers involved with the cleaning and maintenance of dry latrines.
India has not only faced a barrage of infectious diseases in the last couple of decades, but the effect on the environment has been profound. Industrial effluents are often being let out into rivers and major water bodies and have lead to cases of groundwater contamination. The levels of chemical compounds like selenium have increased in drinking water which poses a threat to health. Open drainage facilities and improper waste disposal systems have led to the spreading of diseases and germs, and increasing pollution levels have altered the quality of life altogether. Environmental issues like the disappearance of species and contamination of our natural resources like mangroves and coral reefs have provided a rather disturbing image. The campaign has helped eliminate some of the problems mentioned earlier; however, the scenario is far from being acceptable. While attacks do help to gather people the real issue lies with creating awareness and educating the general populace about the need for the hour. It is high time that concrete action is taken to patch up the damage that has already been inflicted and not to let it propagate further. After all, a cleaner environment and a well-preserved ecology is the best gift that we can leave behind for the next generations.