Mangaluru: Imagine what would happen when over 14,000 plus marathon runners of Nitte Mangaluru Marathon 2015 (which just concluded on Sunday) feast on snacks served on paper plates and beverages served in plastic cups during the breakfast, and dispose the used paper plates/cups when no proper garbage bins are provided? The answer- the entire breakfast arena will turn into a garbage zone! And that was the scene at the Mangala Stadium where breakfast was served for the marathon runners after completion of their run.
I don’t know whom to blame for this disgusting mess, whether to blame the organizers for not providing enough numbers of garbage bins/containers or the marathon runners (young and old) and mostly all educated for disrespecting the cleanliness awareness drive “Swachh Bharath” or “Namma Mangaluru, Swachha Mangaluru” campaign. Even during the last year Marathon, the same kind of mess was seen all around the breakfast area, and this year too it has been repeated. And the sad part is that all those who were responsible for littering were mostly students, or call them educated citizens. Is this what “Clean India” campaign that we are looking forward too, that too being educated citizens of India.
I guess the marathoners already forgot PM Modi’s words when he had said, ” Is cleaning only the responsibility of the karamcharis? Do citizens of India have no role in this? We have to change this mindset. We reached Mars. No PM or Minister went. It was the people who did it, our scientists who did it. So can’t we create a Clean India?. If this is evaluated by a photo-opportunity, then we would be doing a disservice to the nation. We all must come together and do this (clean India) wherever we are. This is not about Modi… Modi is only one of its 1.2 billion people… This is a people’s task. India can do it. People of India can do it”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi while launching his nationwide cleanliness campaign, the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ or ‘Clean India Campaign’ on 2 October 2014 (Gandhi Jayanthi Day) had asked India’s 1.25 billion people to join the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ and promote it to everyone. Addressing the nation Modi had said, ” “We have gained freedom under leadership of Gandhiji, but his dream of clean India is still unfulfilled. Swachh Bharat Campaign logo is not just a logo, through it Gandhijiis watching us and we all should clean India. Be it temples, mosques, gurudwaras or any place, we must take efforts to clean our surroundings. Swachh Bharat mission is beyond politics. It is inspired by patriotism and not politics.he work is to be done by all Indians. This campaign is for 1.2 billion people and I repeat it 1.2 billion times. This work is not only about a ‘prachar abhiyan’. It is a big effort but we have a lot of time.”
I am sure most of these marathoners/students might have already taken Modi’s speech seriously and taken up the task to see that their surroundings are clean by organizing Clean Drive projects. But what good is it to have a clean awareness program for a day, get enough publicity in media and then forget everything the next day and create a mess themselves. That’s what happened here at the Nitte Marathon breakfast area. Even though there were three/four mid-size green colored MCC garbage bins place in the breakfast area, hardly anyone made use of them. When I peeped into these garbage bins, I found out they were either half full or quarter full. People didn’t bother to use them, instead threw the paper plates/cups wherever they wanted to. (look at the pics, to believe it).
Funny part is that there were also two small plastic buckets and couple of small garbage containers- imagine paper plates/cups used by people fitting in these small containers. (see pictures) What a joke? I happened to be near six students, four girls/two boys wearing blue polo-shirts and belong to a prestigious institute- they were feasting on their snacks/beverages. When they were done I saw them discarding the used paper plates/cups right down near their feet, even though there was a MCC garbage bin a few steps away from where they were standing. Wow- just look at these students belong to a prestigious and renowned institute, who care less about cleanliness and keeping their city/country clean. I couldn’t resist myself- I approaching these students and told them what they did was wrong, for which they felt guilty and walked away without uttering a word.
In conclusion, if educated people can’t keep their surroundings clean or ignore “Swachh Bharath Abhiyan”, how can we ver think of having a Clean india or Clean Mangaluru. Is this campaign just a “publicity stunt”, where organizations/colleges/schools/other educational institutions organizing Clean drive project for a day, and for the sake of photos/media coverage, and later stick to their old littering habits. We need to enforce strict laws and punish those who litter in the public, then only we can look forward for “Swachh Bharath” and for that matter ” Swachh Mangaluru”! Let’s work together and see that we keep our surroundings clean. While I compliment the organizers for a great Marathon event, my only request to them is that they look into this garbage menace next year- I only hope that 2016 Nitte Mangaluru marathon breakfast area will be garbage/litter FREE! And let’s remember to make ” Namma Mangaluru, Swachha Mangaluru!”