Many of us NRIs, who came out of India several
decades ago have seen some positive transformation in India and
Indian image internationally. India, in the mind of westerners is no
more a remote corner of the world, where its extremely poor people
only know to charm the snakes, perform black magic and eat monkey
brain, as depicted in the Indiana Jones movies.
We have seen the change in technology and do not have
to wait a long time to make a ‘trunk call’ to our families. Most of
us have not written an ‘aerogram’ for many years.
With all these great achievements, it is sad to see
that it has lagged behind in the field of sanitation and hygiene. In
some ways it has gone backwards.
India is still struggling with infectious diseases
like diarrhea, tuberculosis, malaria, typhoid and encephalitis etc.
These diseases have long been eradicated in the west. Although
Indians care a lot about personal hygiene, they are indifferent
about the filth around their homes. This breeds mosquitos, flies and
pollutes the drinking water.
We need to educate all that dirty surroundings bring
back disease to their homes through flies, mosquitos and water. Also
most rich Indian households employ servants. These poor people live
in impoverished neighbourhoods and suffer from diseases like worms
and tuberculosis. It is one important way or transmission of disease
in the rich household, where the servants cook food and go to the
bedrooms to clean. Same story stands with the cooks and workers of
five star restaurants. This is how foreign tourists sometimes get
People do not realize that merely keeping inside homes is not enough
and they cannot insulate themselves from diseases, if the
surroundings are dirty. In India it is not uncommon to see a very
posh skyscraper that is surrounded by shanty towns, where the
Unless the masses realize that dirty surroundings are the cause of
majority of diseases in their families, they will not use toilets,
continue to throw un bagged garbage outside their homes and spit ,
defecate and urinate here and there.
Using plastic shopping bags to bag household garbage
is a cheap and effective way to prevent it from breeding
flies/mosquito, prevent their seepage in the ground water and
pollution of air. This is how the west is so clean. No harm in
learning good things from others. We are seeing movement in India to
ban these bags. We should educate people to instead use it to bag
their garbage and not thrown them empty.