Saturday, 29 November 2014

Raise Your Voice!

The Swach Bharat campaign is trending all across India. The latest entrant to this initiative is the #AbMontuBolega drive by Strepsils. It is heartening to see so many brands come together to clean up all the filth in our country. But the big brands cannot do this on their own. They need us! They need the voice of the common man. They need action at the grassroot level before directives and provisions of the law can do much about it.

Strepsils has talked about a very crucial point while launching their campaign. We, the citizens of India - a country that produces far more garbage than it can dispose, must take it upon ourselves to speak up when we see anyone littering. We are quick to lash out at politicians who pose with a broom (and pre-arranged garbage, might I add?) to show their support for a clean India. But do we ever reprimand our friends for throwing chewing-gum wrappers on the roadside? Do we stop kids on the footpath from defecating in the open instead of finding them a toilet? Do we check ourselves before we chuck that bus ticket out of the window?

#AbMontuBolega urges us to speak up about cleanliness and other important issues, both physically and virtually. We must share our views on various social media platforms to garner collective help when we alone cannot bring about the change we strive for. When it comes to big things like getting an MLA or your Chief Minister or Governor to enforce a law, you cannot keep quiet and hope somebody else will persuade them. Take charge! Speak up! Get your followers and friends to back your cause, and the government authorities out there will heed you.

Here is what I am doing to make India slightly cleaner and safer for all - earlier this year, sometime in May, I started a campaign to raise money for women in rural India to help them build toilets in their homes. I was fundraising by running 10.55 kilometers at the Mumbai Monsoon Marathon. The terrain was very difficult and the weather highly humid. But I was happy to have raised more than my fundraising goal of forty thousand rupees.

I did not stop at that. Right after that campaign was over, I started another one. And this time, I will be running a half marathon to raise even more than I did last time. You don't have to do stuff like running twenty one kilometers. But you can talk to people about not dumping their garbage wherever they feel like. You can ask people to separate their organic and inorganic waste. You can be a champion for recycling! Glass, paper, plastic, metal - so many things can be recycled if we take some effort. Reusing still remains the best technique. There's nothing better than to refill your empty plastic and glass jars, reuse those old tiffin boxes to store your jewellery, or use your old tee shirt as a wash cloth.

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and RASE YOUR VOICE against littering and wastage. SPEAK UP for cleanliness!

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