Why is India so filthy?

| 10:49 AM
Why is India so filthy?

Understanding the Root Cause

Off we go, dancing our way through life in sunny Perth, Australia. On the other side of the horizon, however, there's a peculiar rummage that's been troubling me recently. It's about India, a country so rich with culture and history yet plagued with excessive filthiness. I'm sure you've seen it in documentaries, heard of it on the news, perhaps even smelt it if you've been there before. So, why is India so filthy?

Now before anyone gets the wrong idea, let's clarify this upfront – it's not a stereotyping attempt or any ill-intentioned curiosity. Instead, this stems from a genuine place of concern and benevolence. Remember, it's not about criticizing, it's about understanding why the situation is the way it is to come up with effective solutions. And that starts with taking a deep dive into the root causes.

The Issue of Overpopulation and Urbanization

The bazaar is bustling, the air heavy with the scent of exotic spices, and saree-clad women jostling space with kurta-wearing men. You're in India, a vibrant and colourful array of sensory overload. But like double-edged swords, its biggest strength has also become its most significant concern. The simple answer to why India is so filthy? Overpopulation!

India, the second most populous country in the world, has a population density of 464 people per square kilometre. That's like stuffing the entire population of Perth into a cricket stadium. Even though it seems like everyone would have a great time at first, it would inevitably lead to a mess – literally, which is precisely what's happening to India on a much larger scale.

Overpopulation leads to over-exploitation of resources, generating more waste that the infrastructure struggles to properly manage. This is compounded by rapid urbanization unchecked by adequate city planning, cutting a major slice of the why-is-India-so-filthy pie.

The Cultural Aspect: Attitude towards Cleanliness

Next on our list is something peculiar, something you don't see every day – the cultural aspect. In the heart of India, cleanliness is often associated with purity rather than health. You might find impeccably clean houses but a littered street outside those very houses. It's like a psychological hula-hoop where cleanliness is practiced within the private space but not replicated in the public sphere. With more than 1.3 billion minds to change, it's a mammoth task to shift and align cleanliness with public health and responsibility.

When my son, Eshaan, was a toddler, he'd throw his toys around the living room, and then we'd spend hours looking for them. I soon realized, however, that this was a chance to teach him about responsibility. So, we spent days, weeks, heck, even months, teaching him to clean up after himself. Whereas with India, it's not just toys lying around - it's, unfortunately, a whole lot more. And teaching 1.3 billion people to pick up after themselves is somewhat trickier than training a toddler. Well, depending on the toddler... and the country.

Inadequate Waste Management Infrastructure

This is the part of the recipe that goes unnoticed, until you taste the end product and realize something is amiss. The infrastructure is like yeast in making bread; it's behind the scenes, but integral to the entire process. India grapples not just with inefficient collection, segregation, and disposal of waste, but also the lack of proper sanitation facilities. Now that's quite a sticky wicket!

Imagine waking up to find the garbage trucks haven’t come in all week, and the rubbish bin is overflowing. Now magnify that feeling a thousand-fold! About 90% of India's waste is disposed of in open dumps without proper landfills or incineration, causing widespread environmental and health hazards.

Uncorking Bottled Solutions: Towards a Cleaner India

The problem with such a mammoth issue is that it can often make the solution seem as elusive as the Australian drop bear. Tackling cleanliness in India could be puzzling given the multifaceted reasons around it. But it's just like working on an enormous jigsaw puzzle. You fit in one piece at a time until you complete the whole picture.

Incorporating comprehensive sanitation and waste management systems, altering societal attitudes to cleanliness, and managing overpopulation effectively are some of the significant pieces of this puzzle. It's easier said than done, I know, but the road to cleanliness begins with a single conscientious step.

It was Mahatma Gandhi who had said, "Sanitation is more important than political freedom." The change won't happen overnight, but through constant effort and commitment, I believe we will see a cleaner environment in India sooner than later. Just like teaching Eshaan to clean up his toys, it takes patience, persistence and a behavioural switch – not just on an individual level, but collective realization and national will. And just when you think you've made enough progress, there will be another tiny figurine to stumble upon, another challenge to overcome. But in the end, we'll surely have a tidier living room...or in this case, a cleaner India. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

World Cultures & Societies

Social Share

Write a comment