India is known for many great things, such as Bollywood, Indian Food, Yoga, Hinduism, the Taj Mahal, and a long rich history and culture. However, one thing that is disappointing to come across when visiting any place in India is the amount of rubbish littering the streets, people eating and chewing tobacco, and spitting on roads. We examine some of the reasons why India is so dirty, even by the standards of other developing countries.
5 Reasons Why India Is So Dirty & Polluted
- Attitude to cleaning: Indians are known to be very diligent when it comes to keeping their own houses clean. Indian mothers, especially, are known for fastidiously scrubbing and sweeping, until every spot in their home is free of dirt. The issue is that this attitude is disregarded once they are no longer in their houses. Indians, in general, tend to feel that the upkeep of roads and other public facilities is someone else’s responsibility. This mentality is ingrained in their upbringing.
- Poverty: Although India is one of the fast-growing economies and poverty is on the decline, there are still many poor people. According to the Rangarajan Committee, over 38% of the population was living below the poverty line in 2014. With such widespread poverty, disposing of thoughtfully rubbish is probably the last thing on the mind of someone who is struggling to feed themselves.
- Overcrowding: India is one of the most populous countries in the world, with over 1 billion citizens. Only China has a higher population. The third most populous country in the United States, with only a quarter of the Indian population. With such a vast number of people, and inadequate infrastructure to both comfortable house and support their needs, rubbish is an inevitable consequence. Many people from the countryside also migrate to major cities like Mumbai and Delhi every year, seeking jobs or a better future. But they end up living in slums built with plastic sheets and bamboo sticks, without proper drainage or waste disposal facilities.
- Herd Mentality: Humans are social creatures and we have a tendency to follow the lead of others. When a street already has rubbish on it, it almost comes naturally to simply add to the pile. India also has a pervasive caste system. Due to societal norms, there are certain classes of people to perform a specific job. Cleaning is considered a dirty job, thus beneath those of a higher class. It, therefore, becomes somebody else’s problem.
- Government Services: The lack of government services to empty bins, repair open drains, and clean the existing mess results in more mess, and becomes an unending cycle. There are not enough garbage collection bins in some localities, which forces people to dispose of their waste in public places. Add to this the fact that dust bins are often hard to come by, which simply perpetuates the problem.