That was my first trip to a foreign country. I had been to northern part of our globe in the Europe region, Finland. It was autumn and nature was filled with colors. It was a visual treat…

Fortunately, I managed to find a place where I can share an apartment with another girl who was my friend’s friend.  In no time the week passed by. I quickly browsed, rented a by-cycle and paid a visit to a couple of lakes nearby on Saturday. The second one was very scenic. It was surrounded by maple trees with leaves ranging from green to yellow to deep orange. The gradients of those colors and their reflection in the water was just awesome. 

A thought crossed my mind. What if the same lake was in India? A smile came over my face, that’s because I am pretty sure the lake would be filled with plastic covers, plastic glasses and all sorts of debris if at all this was India. It’s better I enjoy this evening without such thoughts, I told myself and walked over to the other side of lake..

It rained heavily during the night. I woke up in the morning, made a cup of hot coffee and was peeping outside the kitchen window, the temperature meter outside the window was reading 7 °C. I opened the door after I heard a knock and there stood a small girl, may be around 6 years. She smiled and asked me , “Are you joining us ?”. Before I could respond, my roommate responded with a “yes”.

“Put on your shoes, in the drawer you would find a pair of hand gloves, wear them if you are willing to join me”. I stood there with a question mark look on my face, she read it and said, “we are going to clean the apartment complex and clear all the leaves that would have fallen off for the rain yesterday night”. I joined them with a curiosity, but to my surprise the whole apartment complex is there, right from children who are as young as 3 years to 90 year old’s.  It took close to three hours to clear the compound but it was so much fun and an eye opener for me. 

Later I learnt that, the civil services there would come and clear the compound if it wasn’t, but people also play an active role in keeping the premises clean. No body is forced or requested to do it, but people do it voluntarily. May be “voluntarily” is a bad word to use because they feel the sense of responsibility towards the society they live in and in turn to the nation they belong to. 

For me, that was the very first time I ever participated in a community cleanup, but I have to admit that it was so fulfilling and it gave a sense of satisfaction that I did my bit to the complex I am currently living in. It changed the way I used to think about government, civic bodies, municipalities etc.

India stands tall on the world map for its rich cultural heritage, but there is one thing that really keeps people away from visiting India – CLEANLINESS.

Many educated people like me or who would have visited a different country (which in principal is more cleaner than India) may be embarrassed by the fact that cannot be missed from catching one’s attention –  CLEANLINESS

Indian homes are meticulously kept clean and spot less, but once we head into the streets is when we would find mountains of garbage, graffiti on the walls, filth, debris – you name it and you have it. Most of the dustbins are over flowing, spitting on the walls, peeing in public places , all this leads to unhygienic conditions to live. 

We are very impressed and almost flattered the way cleanliness is maintained in other countries and the very first thoughts would be “I wish India was this clean”, ” I prefer to live in a country which is this clean”, “Don’t know when Indian government would learn from developed countries”.  

I won’t blame government for everything. Give a thought to this – with a country so densely populated as India, the sanitation and drainage system is fairly good. Even in metro cities, it is very uncommon that we see the drainage system failing unless there is a flood of rain. With the population growing at an alarming rate, Indian government is finding it difficult to cope up with the everyday growing demand of waste disposal, which undoubtedly is a fact every Indian would agree. 

Is it only the duty of government ? Nothing  of us – the citizens of a country ?  What can we do to keep our nation clean and make this world a better place to live?

  • Stop littering: Let’s not make it more filthy in the first hand. The waste that you are in possession of, have patience to carry this with you until you find a dustbin. It is not going to take a whole lot of energy to do this 
  • Educate kids of their responsibility:  Certain responsibilities not being taught as part of curriculum could be one of the reason’s we think that it’s solely government who shall be taking care of everything. 
  • Organise community clean-ups: Twice a month or when there is a need, get-together, plan and organise cleaning activities. 
  • An anti-litter policy: Enforce an anti-litter policy in your apartment, office or any other communal place
  • Beautify the surroundings: Grow landscapes, develop pathways and have trash cans at designated places. People tend not to litter when the surroundings are kept clean, and this would encourage them to find the trash can – it is not a treasure hunt after  all.
  • Volunteer for community clean-ups:– No motivation more than keeping our premises clean is needed to roll up our sleeves, isn’t it ? Mark your calendar and have dedicated hours spent at regular intervals.
  • Have your own litter collection: When you organise parties or meet-ups in the roof top or garden area, get your own bins and help keep the premises clean.

Cleanliness is a habit. It has nothing to do with what social class we belong to. We need to help renovate our surroundings, improve the cleanliness and appearance of public places. The sense of involvement in community gives greater satisfaction and leads to a better standard of living. If all citizens are determined for a clean and hygienic environment, the wards, villages and entire cities will become clean.

Keeping our community clean is our primary responsibility …


  1. Very beautiful intro. The first hand experience that you got regarding community cleanliness was a lesson for you as well as for all others whoever reads this.

    Some very important points also raised at the end which are essential to follow to keep our surrounding clean and hygienic.

    God bless you Aastha!!!


  2. Keep your surroundings clean – this is one lesson actively taught right from the school level, yet remains in those black n white prints for many…
    Prompt implementation would make so much of a difference!
    Nice write-up to go with the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan!!


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