Walk on any road or street of Jammu, one finds domestic waste, left-over food littered openly and a horde of stray dogs and other animals. This in a state where people believe in keeping their environ clean. Littering is blatant and it is no crime in Jammu. This could be the reason one finds people throwing paper cups, empty liquor bottles and beer cans with ‘who-cares attitude’ at night especially youngsters. So strong is our defiance we are disdained to ‘keep your city clean’ slogans in dustbins and garbage in the open. We are scrupulous about keeping our houses clean. Regular sweeping, swabbing and dusting will ensure that the house is spotless. But where do most of us throw the dust in the dustpan and the dirty water that collects after said sweeping and swabbing? It is typically disposed of at any place outside the house. The attitude is this: “So long as my house is clean I really don’t care about the neighbourhood”. This same “clean-Aangan” syndrome comes into play each time we carelessly chuck a pet bottle out of a car window on to a pristine hillside, or dump an empty packet of chips out of the window of a speeding train. We don’t care where the garbage goes, so long as it is removed from our own property or immediate vicinity. By being part of littering campaign one does not become clean for self but shows the less caring attitude towards other citizens. The obvious answer would be to implement laws that penalise actions such as spitting, littering, urinating, etc. However, the efficiency of implementing those is pathetic. For instance, the public law that prevented people from smoking in public places has hardly ever been followed. People chew Paan and all the time, spit the “cud” in the most unhealthy manner, throw Gutka wrappers everywhere – in short, make the surroundings intolerably dirty. Is it part of our culture to remain indifferent to the growing garbage nuisance we face daily?
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