Cleanliness is a universal virtue that transcends borders, cultures, and societies. It is a fundamental aspect of a healthy and prosperous life, both for individuals and entire nations. In India, the value of cleanliness has been recognized through the ambitious “Clean India” campaign, anchored by the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, which stands as one of the biggest cleanliness campaigns in the world.

This campaign underscores the significance of cleanliness, not merely as a civic duty but as a fundamental right of every citizen. It encompasses a broad spectrum of activities, from building toilets to ensuring proper waste management, all with the objective of enhancing sanitation and hygiene. This article delves into the profound impact of cleanliness campaigns led by various organizations and how they are shaping the nation’s future by promoting the values of cleanliness and social responsibility.

Most significant cleanliness drives that have been organized in India:

1. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, launched on October 2, 2014, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is a groundbreaking sanitation and cleanliness campaign in India. This ambitious initiative holds the vision of transforming the nation into a clean and open-defecation free country. The campaign’s primary objectives are to improve the overall sanitation and hygiene conditions in both urban and rural areas, eradicate open defecation, and change people’s behaviour to adopt cleaner habits. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan recognizes that sanitation is not just a civic responsibility but a fundamental right of every citizen.

One of the critical components of the program is the construction of individual household toilets and community toilets, particularly in rural areas, where open defecation has been a pervasive problem. The campaign also emphasises the need for proper waste management and disposal, promoting the use of clean cooking fuel, and eliminating single-use plastic to create a healthier environment. 

The campaign has witnessed significant success in achieving its goals, with millions of toilets constructed across the country. It has also led to the mobilisation of communities, volunteers, and various stakeholders, including government bodies and non-governmental organisations, to actively participate in cleanliness drives.

Swachh Bharat Mission goes beyond physical infrastructure, focusing on behavioural change and cleanliness as a way of life. The mission has not only improved sanitation but also contributed to a reduction in waterborne diseases, an increase in tourism, and an overall elevation in the quality of life for millions of Indians.

2. Maha Safai Abhiyan By Dera Sacha Sauda

Dera Sacha Sauda conducts regular Cleanliness Earth Campaigns in various parts of India, promoting cleanliness and hygiene to prevent diseases. The organisation’s efforts are aimed at reducing garbage, pests, and flies, which is crucial in the context of diseases like dengue, malaria, and plague. Particularly focusing on Delhi, where population influx, noise, pollution, sanitation issues, and waste disposal have led to squalor, Dera Sacha Sauda initiated Mega Cleanliness Earth Campaigns. 

The first such campaign in Delhi, organised on 21st and 22nd September 2011, cleaned the capital in just under two days. These campaigns have garnered millions of pledges for maintaining cleanliness.

Dera Sacha Sauda, under the guidance of Saint Dr. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan, conducts mega cleanliness campaigns as part of a devotion-driven mission. The 34th campaign in Gurugram displayed exceptional devotion and love from disciples, rejuvenating the city with a massive cleanup effort. Over 4 lakh volunteers worked diligently to clean the city in just four hours, emphasising the importance of cleanliness and inspiring citizens to join the noble mission.

3. Nirankarifoundation

Sant Nirankari Charitable Foundation (SNCF) is a socio-charitable organisation committed to serving humanity. The Foundation focuses on healing by establishing and assisting in running medical institutions, enriching through educational support, and empowering individuals for self-sustainability. It operates schools, vocational centres, hospitals, and disaster relief efforts. The organisation has been on the forefront of campaigning for cleanliness of the society and the country as a whole. They have launched many cleanliness mega drives.

On February 23, 2020, Sant Nirankari Charitable Foundation (SNCF), as the Brand Ambassador of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, organised extensive Mega Cleanliness and Tree Plantation Drives across India, covering 1320 Government Hospitals. These initiatives aimed to clean hospital compounds, toilets, drainage/water areas, and parks with the assistance of approximately 3.5 lakh volunteers and members of Sant Nirankari Mission. In the National Capital Delhi, 13 hospitals and public parks were cleaned. Since 2003, SNCF has been conducting cleanliness and tree plantation campaigns annually, showcasing a commitment to societal welfare. The Foundation follows the vision of living for others, promoting cleanliness and environmental awareness under the guidance of spiritual leaders.

4. Bhumi NGO

Bhumi, founded in 2006, empowers India’s youth to provide quality education to underprivileged children. They aim to build a socially conscious society by fostering learning, leadership, and collaboration. Their values include ownership, collaboration, and nurturing care. Bhumi’s vision for 2018-2028 focuses on holistic education, sustainable livelihoods, and making volunteering a national habit, nurturing change leaders for society. 

Bhumi, India’s prominent youth volunteer non-profit organization, has partnered with TikTok, a leading short video platform, to launch the #CleanIndia Campaign. The initiative aims to mobilize the TikTok community in support of the Swachh Bharat Mission for universal sanitation coverage. Users are encouraged to participate in cleanliness challenges, posting before and after videos.

Bhumi will host cleanliness drives across 30+ Indian cities as part of the campaign, coinciding with Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary and Swachh Bharat Mission. Bhumi’s volunteers have previously conducted significant cleanliness campaigns, including a lake cleanup in Bangalore collecting over 7,000 kg of garbage and beach cleanups in Mumbai, totaling nearly 6,000 kgs of waste.

5. National Mission for Clean Ganga

The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) was established to oversee the Ganga Clean Up efforts. Registered in 2011, it operates as the implementation arm of the National Ganga River Basin Authority, with the goal of preventing pollution and ensuring the continuous flow of the Ganga River. 

The structure includes the National Ganga Council chaired by the Prime Minister, an Empowered Task Force led by the Union Minister of Jal Shakti, NMCG, State Ganga Committees, and District Ganga Committees. NMCG operates with a two-tier management structure and approves projects up to Rs. 1000 crore. This comprehensive approach unites stakeholders to rejuvenate and clean the Ganga. The continuous effort to clean the mighty and resourceful river has already started to have positive impact on the flora and fauna that depend on it.

Final Words

These initiatives and organizations are at the forefront of promoting cleanliness and environmental awareness in India. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has made remarkable strides in improving sanitation and hygiene, making it a fundamental right for every citizen. 

Dera Sacha Sauda, Sant Nirankari Charitable Foundation, and Bhumi NGO have actively engaged in massive cleanliness campaigns, instilling the importance of cleanliness as a way of life. The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is leading the efforts to clean and rejuvenate the sacred Ganga River, bringing together various stakeholders for this vital mission. These collective endeavors have not only transformed the physical environment but have also inspired a sense of responsibility and societal welfare among citizens.