Swachh Bharat and its impact

Jun 13, 2024

Did you know that, according to the World Health Organization, preventing diseases through effective environmental management can save as many as 12.6 million lives each year? This highlights the profound impact that cleanliness, hygiene, and public health measures have on our community.

Emerging as a cornerstone of India's growth ambitions, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission) emerges as a beacon of progress, emphasising the foundational pillars of cleanliness, hygiene, and public health. Launched by the Government of India on October 2, 2014, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the initiative sought not only to honour his vision for a clean India but also to address contemporary environmental and health challenges head-on.

The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan aims to achieve these goals:

  • Provide access to safe and usable toilets for every household, thereby ensuring dignity and safety, particularly for women and children.

  • Transform existing insanitary toilets into pour flush toilets, ensuring that waste disposal does not contaminate water bodies or the environment.

  • Abolish the inhumane practice by promoting mechanical means of cleaning sewers and septic tanks.

  • Encourage the segregation of waste at the source, composting, recycling, and the conversion of waste to energy.

  • Encourage active participation in cleanliness drives, and making hygiene a part of the national consciousness.

  • Educate citizens about the health benefits of cleanliness and the importance of maintaining a clean environment.

This journey marks significant achievements and milestones reflecting the collective commitment across the nation. The campaign significantly increased sanitation coverage in India, ensuring that a vast majority of the population now has access to improved sanitation facilities. Our country achieved the status of Open Defecation Free involving the construction of over 100 million toilets across the country, greatly reducing health risks associated with open defecation and improving quality of life for millions. The initiative made substantial progress in the area of waste management, with an increased focus on the segregation of waste, recycling, and conversion of waste to energy. Several schools, especially the best CBSE schools in Bangalore, have adopted innovative waste management practices, setting examples for others to follow.

The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has had a profound impact on public health and the environment, marking a significant shift towards a healthier and more sustainable future for India. The initiative's efforts to eliminate open defecation and improve waste management practices have led to notable health benefits like reduction in waterborne diseases, decrease in child mortality rates and improved nutritional status. The environmental benefits of the Abhiyan reflect the holistic approach to fostering a clean and green India through reduced contamination of water bodies, enhanced biodiversity and promotion of sustainable practices.

Recognising the importance of early education in forming lifelong habits, various institutions have implemented a range of innovative programs and campaigns designed to engage students in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan's objectives. Many schools, like schools in C. V. Raman Nagar, organises regular cleanliness drives in and around their campuses and neighbouring areas, instilling a sense of responsibility and community service. Schools frequently conduct awareness programs to cover a wide range of topics, from handwashing techniques and personal hygiene practices to the proper disposal of waste.

Various initiatives, such as implementing recycling projects and hosting workshops on hygiene practices, further reinforce these lessons. Moreover, the top schools in Bangalore comply with this mission by maintaining clean and hygienic facilities, encouraging students to actively participate in keeping their surroundings tidy. Through these efforts, educational institutions help cultivate a generation that is not only aware of the significance of cleanliness and hygiene but is also equipped to contribute positively to public health and the environment.

Schools in Bangalore, especially schools in east Bangalore, have creatively integrated the principles of cleanliness and hygiene into their educational content across various subjects. Environmental science classes, for example, include modules on waste management, the importance of water conservation, and the impact of pollution on health and the ecosystem. Such integration ensures that students receive comprehensive knowledge about hygiene and cleanliness, understanding not just the 'how' but the 'why' behind these practices.

The initiative's widespread success can be significantly attributed to the enthusiastic participation of communities across India, including dedicated involvement from parents and local groups. Organised by neighbourhood groups, CBSE schools in Bangalore, and NGOs, local cleanliness drives have brought together individuals from all walks of life, including parents, students, and local leaders, to clean up streets, parks, and public spaces.

In several areas, community members have taken the initiative to improve local sanitation infrastructure by constructing toilets, setting up waste segregation systems, and establishing community composting facilities. Community groups have collaborated with local government bodies to identify areas in need of attention and to coordinate cleanliness and sanitation efforts, ensuring that efforts are well-targeted and that resources are utilised effectively.

While significant strides have been made in building sanitation infrastructure and raising awareness, maintaining these practices without continuous reinforcement remains a concern. Ensuring that toilets and sanitation facilities are not only built but are also functional and integrated into daily life is crucial. Urban areas, in particular, face difficulties in waste collection, segregation, and processing. Verifying that the benefits of the initiative reach all segments of society is essential for its overall success. To overcome these challenges:

  • Continuously educate and run awareness campaigns to reinforce the importance of sanitation and cleanliness practices.

  • Address issues related to water supply, maintenance, and cultural acceptance.

  • Develop and implement integrated waste management solutions that promote segregation at the source, recycling, and innovative waste-to-energy projects can address solid waste challenges.

  • Collaborate with NGOs and community-based organisations to enhance outreach and effectiveness.

As we reflect on the journey of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, it's clear that the strides made towards a cleaner, healthier India are both significant and transformative. The importance of sustaining efforts towards cleanliness cannot be overstated. Cleanliness and sanitation are fundamental to public health, environmental preservation, and the overall quality of life. Let us commit to this cause, not just for ourselves but for the countless generations to come, ensuring a legacy of health, cleanliness, and environmental harmony.