By Harini Raghupathy
The city of Vadodara created a world record on the 28th of May for the maximum people sweeping a single venue. It surpassed the previous record holder Surat, where over 2,014 residents had come together to clean the Udhana area. Vadodara saw nearly 5,058 people assembling to sweep the bridge connecting Akota to Dandia bazaar. The mass cleaning was carried out entirely by the participants, who cleaned the area in groups of 50. The event was witnessed by over 50,000 people.
The race to be the cleanest
The cleanup of the one-kilometre stretch was organised to celebrate the inclusion of the city as the tenth cleanest city in the Swachch Survekshan 2017 survey launched by the Urban Development Ministry. The survey was a part of the 2017 Swachch Survekshan program, under which around 434 cities, with over one lakh population each, were studied. The city of Indore was declared as the cleanest. The survey was based on various parameters including what the citizens’ opinions, the observations of the surveyors who travelled to the cities, and specific factors like the kind of solid waste management processes in use and the accessibility of basic sanitation in the city. Vadodara had been previously ranked 214th in the 2014 survey and 13th in the 2016 survey.
A step in the right direction
The approach undertaken by the people of Vadodara to celebrate its inclusion in the ranking was appreciated by PM Narendra Modi, who hailed the move as ”inspiring”. The municipal corporation commissioner of Vadodara, Vinod Rao, stated that this program was organised as a tribute to PM Modi’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan initiative.
PM Modi’s flagship project ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ was launched in 2014, and it gained national recognition by expounding the basic knowledge of cleanliness and hygiene among the people. It not only imposed moral responsibility at an individual level but also extended it to the society as a whole. Hence, initiatives like the Vadodara cleanup hold the potential to inspire other cities to take up equally large projects. Measures in this direction can successfully harness collective responsibility, encourage public participation and stimulate the public to be more pro-active in bringing about change.
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