Let us sing together about cleanliness Let us clean the district – dancing like the bright shining sun Outdoor defecation is the hotbed of several diseases! Let us build a toilet in each home and use it, While protecting the honour of our mothers and children Come on friends, let us spread the message that a toilet is our safety shield The waste that is thrown onto the streets Spews poison across the whole village Without polluting the water sources Let us make ours a plastic-free district By segregating the wet and dry waste, Let us protect our environment Come on friends, let us spread the message that Cleanliness is our culture…
So reads the Kannada poem composed by Dr. M R Ravi, CEO-Zilla Panchayat of Dakshina Kannada in Karnataka. This poem formed the lyrics of a swachhata song that was converted into several jingles and synchronized to doorbells by students of Sahyadri College of Engineering and Management.
Clearly, the jingles appeal to people to do away with the practice of open defecation, shun plastic, segregate waste at source and call for maintaining cleanliness of the surroundings. Each of the 30 second jingles is based on a different theme.
The Swachh Bharat calling bell was first introduced at the Zilla Panchayat office. Visitors would hear it when the CEO or the president of the ZP pressed the switch in their chambers, signaling for visitors to enter.
Further, several homes in Kallige village have installed the swachhata calling bell. “We hope the calling bell will serve as a constant reminder about cleanliness,” Dr. Ravi said.
Dakshina Kannada and Udupi are among the 46 districts in the country, and the only two in Karnataka, that bagged the Central Government’s Swachhatha Darpan award on the third anniversary of the Swachh Bharath Mission (Gramin) on October 2, 2017.
Dakshina Kannada has achieved the open defecation free ODF status on 20th September, 2016. This message conveyed through the calling bell in offices and at homes will ensure that behaviour change is sustained and there is no slippage.
“We want to inculcate the right values amongst our younger generation and ensure that cleanliness becomes a part of our life and culture,” Dr. Ravi added.
As far as other SBM-G initiatives are concerned, the dynamic CEO has ensured that all the 2000 plus schools which cater to about 3.2 lakh students in the district observe ‘Sanitation Day’ each Saturday when one period is set aside for sanitation. Swachh Shanivara begins with an anecdote on cleanliness that is read out during assembly. An indoor or outdoor activity follows and can include competitions or shramdaan. Involving teachers and students, the activity has had a good response so far.
In the pipeline are plans to reach out to 30,000 mothers who visit the anganwadis. Currently, there are as many as 2104 angawadis of which 1600 are located in the rural areas. An awareness programme on hygiene and sanitation is held at the anganwadis every Saturday.
Another intervention has to do with the highways. Around 36 of the district’s Gram Panchayats are located in and around three national highways of Dakshina Kannada. As people passing through those highways are in the habit of dumping garbage on the roadsides, the district administration has put in place a task force to watch out for perpetrators and impose fines on them.
Listen to Swachhata song: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1quA1TE_y09wuo3YK45u-Kj2z1ERAZXxN/view?usp=sharing