SHILLONG, Sep 10: If holistic approach is the crux of any strategy to deal with social issues, then Meghalaya though late, but is headed in the right direction as far as the fight against unclean habits and unsupportive minds goes.
The fresh and green environment of the state often referred to as the green refuge by tourist amid growing pollution is falling victim to the not so civic habits.
Heaps of plastics, bottles, papers are a common sight at most of the places of tourist interest and are only getting worse. Lately, the city was troubled by the problem of garbage disposal and litter mongers who would sneak when no is around and dump heap of garbage on the side of the road. So much so places of tourist interest and favorite Sunday destination of the locals- Golf Link was not even spared.
A lot of awareness campaigns have been held by various environmental groups, government and even individuals on the issue however it all seems to have fallen to deaf ears.
However, all is not lost. Amid diminishing hope a young boy set out on a lone mission with the objective of delittering the environment. Nangjop Thabah started a campaign called #NoLitterShillong which created waves on Social Media on the very first day of its initiative, inviting positive response from all sections of people.
“I realized that we like to talk at length about no littering yet would do nothing significant about it (at most, a one-time cleaning drive without the bother to follow it up). Our mental framework is also such that we clean up only our personal property whilst not bothering much about public spaces” Thabah said adding, “It was then that I decided to take it up upon myself. So on Monday the 26th of June, I purchased pairs of latex gloves along with two dozen large garbage bags and started off on my own neighborhood; picking up pieces of paper and plastic strewn along the road and on drains”.
Former President at Partners of Pla Iew Socio, Environmental, Sports cum Cultural Club, Nicholas Jonathan Kharnami known for his works in protecting the environment too took the onus on himself and started a campaign to make the city clean. From cleaning the Wahumkhrah to protesting through posters at places turned into garbage dumping sites and cleaning it himself, Kharnami does it all and all for the love of the environment.
Meanwhile, the state government is also all in for the cause and Keeping the spirit of ‘Clean and Green Shillong’ alive, has adopted a stringent approach to deal with pollution and littering in public places and tourists spots while issuing strict warning to those violating the lawful orders.
East Khasi Hills Superintendent of Police Davis NR Marak, in pursuance of Section 101 of Meghalaya Police Act 2010, has advised all citizens to keep order on public roads, streets and all the tourist spots in the District. The district police chief also issued a strict warning to those violating these terms. “Any person not obeying the lawful orders issued is liable to be arrested under section 102 of the Meghalaya Police Act 2010 and on conviction by a Court of law, shall be liable to a fine of Rs 5000.
All tourists visiting the tourist spots are also advised to carry garbage bags in their vehicles where small garbage like wrappers, chip covers, water bottles etc, can be dumped and finally those garbage bags be dumped/thrown in appropriate dustbins/ garbage bins.
In line with this the District Magistrate, East Khasi Hills District, has imposed section 133 CrPC in Golf Links and Khyndailad or Police Bazaar to begin domesticating those litterers who outrightly refuse to understand the concept of cleanliness and hygiene. The same would be imposed in other pockets which would be identified.
Meanwhile, the District Magistrate, has also promulgated an Order under Section 144 CrPC prohibiting washing of sands and boulders and vehicles along the stretch of Wah Lyngiong, East Khasi Hills District. The Order has been issued in view that some people are engaged in washing of sands and boulders and vehicles, all along the stretch of Wah Lyngiong, thereby causing harm to the environment and the river.
Well, many might question the imposition of Section 133 CtPC in Golf links and Police Bazar area due to incessant littering, but it’s high time that such rules are imposed in our city. Indiscriminate dumping of garbage can be seen in and around the city as well as outskirt areas; people are littering to their heart’s content. So the question is why do people lack civic sense or is it just an act of negligence. If people like Nangjop Thabah and Silent Clean Campaign can take initiatives of doing their bit in providing a helping hand towards cleaning the society, why not us.