From cleanliness drives to SUP bans, poster making competitions to greywater treatment activities, Swachhata Hi Seva (SHS) in Punjab saw the large-scale participation of village communities who joined in to clean up their villages, while committing to practise safe sanitation practices.
Swachhata Hi Seva (SHS) campaign is organised across rural India during the fortnight of 15th September to 2nd October in the run up to Swachh Bharat Diwas when communities engage in shramdaan to clean up their villages. The focus this year is on cleaning up legacy waste to bring about visual cleanliness of villages.
Focusing on the SUP ban Pakhowal village in Ludhiana district organised a poster making competition in the school with the support of the school staff and the village administration. The harmful effects of single use plastics (SUPs) on the people and the environment were subjects that were highlighted and children demonstrated creativity in expressing their ideas, while generating awareness amongst the community.
Talwandi village in Batala Block of Gurdaspur concentrated on highlighting the ill effects of untreated effluents that were let out by industries and the need to treat the same. Community meetings were held where the matter was discussed at length, dwelling upon how untreated water could contaminate the soil and water bodies, affecting the health of people and wildlife. There was a huge response from the community who were eager to learn about the options for greywater management and the setting up of systems to manage such effluents.
In Safdarpur Village of Patiala district, a cleanliness drive was organised, the event involving the cleaning of a pond situated in the heart of the village. Given that the pond was contaminated to unacceptable limits, and the unclean water was a hotbed for the spread of disease, the village community was very interested in cleaning the pond that would contribute to health and well-being of the community.
Demonstrating enthusiasm, the village community of Rohti Mouran village in Nabha Block of Patiala, joined in a cleanliness drive in large numbers to support the Swachhata Hi Seva campaign. They picked up litter from the roadsides and cleaned up other public spaces, keen to making their village clean.