Throwing litter on the road

In India when travelling on a car one simply chucks litter which one may have out of the window on the road. I have been to USA and Canada several times, but found this never happening there.

This may seem a small thing, but in fact it reflects two entirely different cultures, the culture of a feudal society, and the culture of an industrial society. Let me explain.

In feudal agricultural societies human groupings are small, and are scattered mostly over large agricultural areas.

On the other hand, in industrial societies, human groupings are large, and are concentrated in cities, in factories, educational institutions, offices, etc. Thus, in USA perhaps 97% of the population lives in cities.

Cleanliness and sanitation is vital for industrial societies, otherwise they will not be able to function. For instance, if a worker in a factory contracts some disease, he may infect other workers who are likely to be in close proximity to him, and even the managers and supervisors of the company. This may bring the working of the factory to a standstill. Neighbouring factories and establishments may also be affected.

Apart from that, industrial societies are closely integrated. Hence if the functioning of one unit is adversely affected, it may set up a chain reaction adversely affecting a host of others. For instance, if a steel mill closes down, it will adversely affect the suppliers of its raw materials, its customers, and a host of other people.

That is why when an American returns to America with some disease contracted in Africa or Asia which he visited, he is immediately quarantined in a hospital, and released only after it is confirmed that there will be no danger to public health.

India may not be totally feudal ( as there has been a degree of industrialisation ), but it is still semi feudal, and that is why there is little emphasis on cleanliness. There is filth all around, and no one seems to bother. There are heaps of garbage everywhere in all cities in India, and no one seems to mind. Mosquitoes carrying dengue, malaria and other diseases abound as they breed in pools of stagnant water which is present everywhere.

In America, there is a garbage bin in every house, and there is also a trash bin outside every house, from where the Municipality workers collect the trash every other day or so. I have not seen this in India. In America it is ingrained in every child that he must not throw litter anywhere but only in the litter bin, nor on ther oad outside. In India, on the other hand, as long as your own house is clean, you can throw litter anywhere you please.

It is only when a fully industrial society is created in India that we will develop mindsets insisting on cleanliness. All these ‘Swachchata Abhiyans’ ( cleanliness drives ) are only gimmicks.



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