Let Mumbai Live

Mumbai is a noble city. Though, over the years we have tried our best to finish it off - be it through population, garbage, disease, dirt, calamities or even riots and bomb blasts.

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Raveena Tandon, Actor

Mumbai is a noble city. Though, over the years we have tried our best to finish it off - be it through population, garbage, disease, dirt, calamities or even riots and bomb blasts.

Yet the city has such resilience that  it always rises like a Phoenix from the ashes. But if we all have to enjoy a good, clean life, we have to begin caring for it with urgency. Lest it dies...

For this we have to begin at the grassroots. We face a severe population problem because of continuous infiltration from small towns and villages. And why does this happen? It is so because there ‘s neither proper infrastructure nor education or employment opportunities there.

Can we blame people if they are forced to come to Mumbai for survival? A minimum limit should be set regarding how much population the city can accept or absorb. The cut-off point should be strictly adhered to.

The teeming population leads to another crisis. It gives rise to builders, who in turn bribe their way and destroy the green patches for construction land. It takes us natural calamities, like floods and the Tsunami, to realise how much we are tampering with nature.

There were once vast stretches of mangroves behind my apartment. But they have been taken over by slums. Each morning, the first sight on opening the window, would be adults and children defecating. But can we blame them alone?

Cleanliness is another issue which irks me. Why only blame the poor for that? I have seen affluent people throwing out empty packets of snacks and soft-drink cans from speeding cars. They are not only littering the roads but putting the next vehicle under threat of skidding. At such times, I feel like chasing and pulling them up for it.

Also, whenever one tries to take up civic problems and reach out to the concerned authorities one always finds a paucity of funds there. As vigilant citizens, most of us do pay taxes. Where do these taxes, which could be used for welfare, go?

There is something else that bothers me. Why are the nation’s limited funds allotted as aid to other countries? Charity begins at home.

Why not help our deprived citizens instead? For a nation that is lacking in basic infrastructure, should not this be tackled as priority? Should not our homeless be provided with shelter first? Should not life first be made cleaner, greener and healthier for us?

It’s not that we do not have appropriate laws to rule out public misconduct. Be it wildlife and nature preservation, be it spitting or urinating in public, or garbage disposal and banning the use of plastic bags, our laws are stringent. Sadly, they are not implemented.

I feel traffic cops should be given an authority for pulling up those spitting out from car windows or throwing out junk.

The administration can grow self-sufficient by imposing heavy fines against any transgression. By this I don’t mean a measly Rs 50, rather it should be a weighty Rs 2000 and two days of imprisonment for any civic misbehaviour.

So the next time you munch an apple and want to throw out the remains, remember to wrap it in paper and put it in the next available dustbin. Do not throw it out. For one day the bubble, which Mumbai has become, could burst!

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