Have you ever been to Wagah border? Every day, hundreds gather to witness the Beating Retreat border ceremony at Wagah. Adrenaline runs high, patriotism is at its peak, but there’s one thing we Indians just can’t seem to do away with – leave trash where it does not belong.
While I was there, I could hear constant announcements that people must dispose trash – the wrappers and bottles – in the bins placed right in front of them. But take a moment to look at this.
The newly appointed Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was in Kasauli to felicitate officers and civilians of eight cantonments for maintaining cleanliness in their area.
Many of these high-altitude bases are unreachable by tourists like you and me, but some tourists do manage to get there. The junk left behind (by tourists) never decomposes due to conditions prevailing there. So one of the objectives of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan for us would be to go to those high-altitude places and clean them.Nirmala Sitharaman, Defence Minister
The Defence Minister said that areas like Kargil, Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir, part of northeast see a large number of tourists every year. These parts have little or no civil administration and only the Indian Army is present who must take up the task of cleaning the areas and saving the enviroment.
A Change.org addressed to the PMO and Defence Ministry says:
The Indian Armed Forces are meant to be a fighting and protection force. While they need to do their bit to keep their area clean and hygienic, it is NOT their job to clean the mess created by tourists. Directing them to ensure the Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan is going forward by making them clean high altitude areas is NOT OKAY and is demeaning.Janhvi Pant, Petitioner
Tweeple couldn’t seem to believe the directives by the Defence Ministry either.
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is about to complete three years this October. Whether it is the Tourism Ministry’s job or a directive for the Army in high altitudes, shouldn’t the onus lie on us as Indians to keep our nation clean?