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Special Content

Issue no 30, 21 - 27 October 2023

Making India Garbage-Free

Swachhata Hi Seva Campaign 2023

Swachhata (Cleanliness) is not just a government initiative; it is a collective responsibility. Every citizen has a role to play in keeping their surroundings clean and promoting good hygiene practices. As we continue to witness the positive impact of the Swachh Bharat Mission, it is essential to remember that a cleaner India is not just a slogan but a tangible reality that is enhancing the lives of millions. It is a testament to what can be achieved when a nation comes together for a common goal - the goal of a cleaner, healthier, and more prosperous India.

The Swachhata Hi Seva (SHS) 2023 campaign, themed 'Garbage-Free India,' recently concluded with a grand culmination on 1st October. This fortnight festival of cleanliness, inspired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi's call for Swachhata (cleanliness), witnessed massive participation and achieved remarkable milestones. Over 32 crore individuals joined this 'Jan Andolan' during its 14-day duration, averaging around 2.3 crore participants per day, showcasing unity, determination, and an unwavering commitment to sanitation and cleanliness. Let's revisit the unique aspects and achievements of this year's SHS campaign.

A Nationwide 'Jan Andolan'

The 2023 SHS campaign witnessed an unprecedented level of participation, with nearly 15 crore citizens actively engaging in voluntary labour for over 3.68 lakh Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) activities. These efforts encompassed a wide range of initiatives, including cleaning beaches, revitalising riverbanks, reclaiming legacy waste sites, improving tourist destinations, and restoring public spaces. Notably, this collective action resulted in the cleaning of over 12,000 water bodies, the rejuvenation of over 60,000 institutional buildings, and the cleaning of nearly 47,000 garbage-vulnerable sites. These remarkable numbers reflected the power of 'Jan Andolan' to bring about rapid transformation.

Community-Led Clean-liness Drives

One of the unique aspects of this year's SHS campaign was the strong emphasis on community-led cleanliness drives. Communities actively took ownership of cleanliness initiatives, from neighborhood clean-up drives to promoting waste segregation at the household level. This approach not only ensured sustainable cleanliness but also fostered a sense of responsibility among citizens.

Collaboration and Synergy

The SHS campaign exem-plified a 'Whole of Government' approach, with various depart-ments collaborating to achieve a 'Swachh Bharat' as envisioned by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. Initiatives from different departments contributed to the cause: the Ministry of Tourism launched the Travel for LiFE for Cleanliness Campaign, the Ministry of Information & Broad-casting ensured the screening of SHS videos in cinemas nationwide, and the Department of Telecom played the SHS ringtone across all mobile networks. The Department of Civil Aviation, Railway Board, and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) endorsed and actively participated in the campaign, illuminating major monuments with SHS branding. Educational institutions incor-porated sanitation activities, and colleges and universities spread the message of Swachhata.

Support for Sanitation Heroes

This year's campaign also focused on the welfare of sanitation workers, often referred to as Safai Mitra. Health check-up camps and yoga shivirs were organised for their well-being, recognising their invaluable contribution to cleanliness and sanitation.

Inclusive Participation

All sections of society actively participated in the SHS campaign. Women's Self-Help Groups (SHGs) mobilised in large numbers, adopting villages for Shramdaan (voluntary labour). Youth in schools and colleges enthusiastically cleaned up their surroundings, with some adopting entire villages. Senior citizens contributed through Shramdaan at beaches, parks, and public places. Religious leaders in various places of worship promoted cleanliness, and various organisations like Chambers of Commerce and Red Cross were actively involved in Swachhata activities.

Mass Mobilisation Activities

The campaign organised a wide range of activities, including Swachhata Pledge, Swachhata runs, and human chains. Cleanliness drives were conducted at railway tracks and stations, airport areas, tourist spots, heritage sites, educational institutions, highways, zoos, sanctuaries, and parks. Additionally, there were pledges to ban single-use plastics and promote zero waste events. These collective efforts rejuvenated the environment, creating a cleaner and healthier atmosphere.

The Swachhata Hi Seva 2023 campaign was a testament to the power of collective action and community engagement. This Jan Andolan made significant strides towards achieving a 'Garbage-Free India.' It show-cased the determination, unity, and commitment of comm-unities, individuals, and govern-ment agencies to transform India into a cleaner and more sustainable nation.

This campaign demonstrated that remarkable feats can be achieved when individuals, communities, and government agencies unite with a shared vision and work towards a mission, like the Swachh Bharat Mission. It was not just a government initiative; it was a collective responsibility. The SHS campaign was not only about cleanliness but also about transforming lives and creating a better future for all. As the campaign continued to inspire and mobilise millions, it brought India one step closer to the dream of a truly Swachh Bharat.

(Compiled by EN Team)