It is a well-known fact that health is strongly interlinked with hygiene and cleanliness. However, most Indian cities have poor standards of cleanliness, which, ultimately, takes a toll on the health.
Here’s a wonderful success story to draw inspiration for the cities aspiring to be cleaner and healthier.
“Swachhta aadat hai, swachhta utsav hai”, goes a line from a song from the Indore Municipal Corporation’s cleanliness campaign. Beating over 4200 cities, Indore has emerged as the cleanest Indian city as per the Swacch Survekshan survey, for the second year in a row.
The credit for the massive leap from the 149th position in 2014 to a sustained top ranking goes to the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC). When the city received dismal rankings, the officials decided to act.
Like most cities worldwide, Indore was struggling to manage its waste. Waste segregation at source was made compulsory for households as well as commercial establishments. Dry waste goes to a material recovery centre for segregation and sale. Plastic is used to manufacture bricks or agriculture pipes. Wet waste is converted to manure at trenching grounds.
A ‘bin-less city' model that emphasized on door-to-door collection was also introduced to combat this issue. Such a model eliminated the large community garbage bins that would always be overflowing, attracting disease-causing insects and stray animals; besides being an obvious eyesore.
Another area of focus was making the city litter-free. For this, the Municipal Corporation started levying strict fines from litter-bugs. Well, that’s not all! The IMC distributed 1,000 free bottle-shaped dustbins that fit into car bottle-holders to vehicle owners to encourage them to not litter roads.
Sanitation was another key area of improvement. Since open defecation was a problem, more public toilets were built. Needs of individual households and communities (especially in slums) were also surveyed, and accordingly, toilets were built for them. ‘Dabba gangs’ that patrolled the city and discouraged open defecation, were set up.
All these measures have boosted the health of the city and its inhabitants. While hard statistical data isn’t yet available since Indore rose to the top only in 2017, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence supporting this claim. Shirotal Jagtap, a key figure behind Indore’s transformation, says that informal reports from doctors suggest that the incidence of dengue and malaria in the city has gone down drastically. This just serves to prove the point that a clean city is indeed a healthy city.
For other cities wanting to take a cue from Indore’s success story, here’s a quick summary of what Indore has done-
Focus on three key areas:
● Waste management
● Ensure active involvement of the following stakeholders
A passionate and driven municipal commissioner who has the support of the politicians is working in the interest of the shareholders of the city and its citizens.