STORY: On the occasion of International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Wednesday (December 03), physically challenged children participated in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Clean India Mission’ with an aim to motivate people towards keeping the country clean.
The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is an observance promoted by the United Nations (UN) since 1992 that aims to promote understanding issues related to disability and extend support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.
At least 70 million Indians live with psychosocial disabilities like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder and more than 1.5 million have intellectual disabilities such as Downs Syndrome.
On Wednesday, children in Noida city in northern Uttar Pradesh took part in the cleanliness drive along with a lawmaker of ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Mahesh Sharma.
“I have come here to clean my country. If our country is cleaned then others will get motivation that we should keep our country clean,” said a participant, Gavish Khanna.
Sharma said he initiated this mission in his constituency as he was motivated by Modi.
“One drawback that we see in our country is cleanliness and he (Modi) also quoted Mahatma Gandhi who wanted cleanliness in the country,” said Sharma.
Modi had launched the nationwide cleanliness mission on October 02, birth anniversary of India’s peace icon Mahatma Gandhi, to raise awareness at the grassroots level for better sanitation in a bid to create a sense of responsibility among citizens under the banner of ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan’ or Clean India Mission.
Meanwhile, a BJP leader Udit Raj and singer Anu Malik took forward the mission and collected garbage from streets in New Delhi.
“Everyone is motivated. We are going in every lane and cleaning it. How much I praise Modi for his clean India mission, it is less,” said Malik.
India’s burgeoning towns and cities are littered with garbage, the result of massive urban migration, poor civic planning and inadequate waste disposal systems, and rivers and lakes are polluted with sewage and industrial effluents.
Less than a third of India’s 1.2 billion people have access to sanitation and more than 186,000 children under five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation, according to the charity WaterAid.
The United Nations said in May half of India’s people defecate outside – putting people at risk of cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A and typhoid.
The resulting diseases and deaths, mostly among the poor, cause major losses. The World Bank in 2006 estimated that India was losing 6.4 percent of gross domestic product annually because of poor sanitation.
According to a WaterAid research, about 16 million Indians a year gain access to a basic toilet. This will need to increase to more than 100 million a year if the whole population is to have a toilet by 2019.