The Mumbai Muncipal Corporation has finally decided to be strict about littering. And ofcourse the richie rich dogs’ poop has to be cleaned up by their owners. Though BMC bye-laws do say that there is a fine of Rs 500/- for littering, Mumbai citizens have generally been ignoring it.
And one of the reasons is ignorance of the law. Therefore the muncipality is going out of its way to publicise the issue. The truth is however that few policemen have the courage to confront the bigwigs who regularly walk their dogs on Marine Drive. They had their fingers burnt recently when they tried to discipline the well known journalist Tavleen Singh who protested against the fine, telling the police that the whole of Mumbai litters so why is she being picked on? Well the police are going to pick on other ‘important’ people, including IAS officers. But they want to handle this issue delicately and have decided to issue pamphlets publicising the enforcement of the bye-law. Quoting from a Mumbai Mirror report:
To solve their problem, additional municipal commissioner R A Rajeev and assistant commissioner ‘A’ ward, Vijay Balamwar printed a pamphlet that stated: anyone who allows his pet to litter in a public place will have to clean up the poop or pay a fine of Rs 500. These pamphlets were distributed to all the IAS officers’ houses in Yashodhan.
Balamwar said this was the only way to make people aware about the cleanliness bye-laws. Marine Drive is a VIP road and is BMC’s top priority in the cleanliness drive. Without informing the people we cannot force a fine on them, hence we informed them about the bye-laws through a pamphlet, he added.
Its about time really. My daughter who studies in a college in South Mumbai just off Marine Drive tells me that when she reaches her classes in the morning at eight a.m. she and her fellow college mates have to do a virtual jig to avoid stepping on the oodles of dog shit on the pavement outside their college.
However this drive of the BMC cannot work unless citizens cooperate. In fact some people actually told the Mumbai Mirror that they would refuse to clean if asked to do so as the idea was a humiliating one. Well, one can just hope that they don’t litter the streets then!
Update: The BMC is going to hire a private agency to enforce the cleanliness drive so those who think that this drive is going to die down better watch out before they throw that piece of paper in a public place! Also, 6000 new garbage bins are to be installed all over Mumbai and garbage transportation is set to improve with the purchase of 800 new vehicles, including compactors. The new bins are to be better than the old ones because they are supposedly cow-proof. :) Around Rs 400 crore is earmarked for this cleanliness drive.
(Photo sourced from Mumbai Mirror)