Statutory warning: The actions and tolerances expressed in this article may not really be suitable reading material for some but are applicable to almost everyone.
The one who tolerates is as guilty as the one who indulges.
In the midst of all the Smartness and the clamour for an infrastructural transformation, the ugly truth of the realities of human life emerges to challenge the senses and possibly the super uncommon Common Sense. Just when proud Belgaumites were beginning to Call for a whole new Era, we seem to have gifted ourselves with Cholera; the epitome of unhygenic humanness. Areas in and around Shastri Nagar have been afflicted by the epidemic and there has been a formal declaration to this effect.
Our little corner of the Blue Planet has for long been found wanting in the department of hygiene. Defecation in open places is acceptable social norm and urination in open spaces and not so open ones is an act that almost everyone seems to either indulge in or have no problem with. Little children from so called less fortunate homes do it under adult supervision. Talk to their supervisor and he/she would be kind if they explained to you that there is no toilet in the house and hence the behaviour. Most of the times, you wouldn’t be let off so easily. “You are rich people, so you never had to do it and will never understand”, would be the most common retort. To some people it is almost tradition that kids do so. But if it is not a matter that the particular family can actually manage, isn’t it the responsibility of the neighbour or even the onlooker to address the situation. Maybe even the corporators need to be more vigilant and proactive in this context.
Accumulation or litter of fecal matter draws pigs and house files and eventually translates into health hazards. Filth percolates to the ground water and airborne pathogens do their duty of spreading illnesses. No one seems to be in any mood to worry till the whole thing translates into an epidemic that we cannot be proud of.
The biggest shortage is not just water that everyone is talking of in the midst of a torrid summer; it is more of the serious shortage of public toilets and the maintenance of so called existing ones. The public toilets are hardly seen around. Try to think of one in your own locality and you will draw a blank. The Sulabh revolution seems to have done so much work for this absolute essential but its absence in town is dearly felt. Most toilets that have been erected are unmanned and often abandoned.
There was a great hue and cry about the 2 Minute Maggi mess but no one talks about the open garbage bins even in the vicinity of vendors selling food stuff in the open.
People who go out for a booze in their party time, pull over their plush looking cars at roadsides and urinate in the open in their quest for what they call open air relief. Pensioners and diabetics answering nature’s desperate call in the open do so because they have nowhere else to go, but this is life.
Cholera is the worst possible representation of unhygienic living conditions. Suddenly the city wakes up to the arrival of this long lost foe and there will be precautionary measures in place but is this the solution? The overall attitude related to human waste management needs to change. Drainage lines need to be upgraded to accommodate the burden of population so that valuable ground water can be saved. Stricter laws need to be enforced not just against Maggi but all the things that vendors sell as left-open food stuff on the road sides.
A Smart city is not just a bunch of infrastructural facilities, it has more to do with Smart People for only they deserve a smart place for living. Let us hope that this is a lesson for us and for the City Corporation to mend all aspects pertaining to Civic Sense.
This situation can definitely not be addressed by the Holy Shit!! exclamation over the advent of Cholera.
It is a rather gross way of putting it but “Unless shit is considered holy and aptly provided for, Holy Shit situations will continue to tarnish our dreams for a better place for living”.