Colombo has become cleaner. That is a fact. One has to accept it. But a long way to go too. This is not sufficient. We are better than Indian cities but there is no point in comparing with the worst and boasting. But this is a good start. We don’t see the empty yoghurt cups, milk packets, shopping bags, etc. anymore by the road side. They directly go to the dust collectors. This is a good move because this change was done without introducing punishment. Only convincing the people was enough. No wonder we have 90+% literacy rate and people can understand the message. The advert run on TV where a big worm follows a person who dumps dirt by the roadside was effective.
When we heard that the Defense Secretary was the man behind making Colombo clean we expected him to use force and take some drastic actions like on the spot punishments, well… etc. I am not sure whether people started collecting garbage and dump them in assigned places out of fear or just thinking it a national duty. Anyway, Colombo is becoming better. So are the suburbs.
Obviously, the villages in Sri Lanka were cleaner than cities whereas in India both are equally dirty. Towns in the outstations also are becoming better these days. I usually don’t even drop the bus ticket on the street but take it to the dustbin at the office or home and I don’t think I’m the only one who does so. There are more people who do care about the environment. They should be encouraged and rewarded.
Urban councils don’t have a sound plan to collect garbage. They should keep garbage bins in proper locations so that people could drop their garbage in to these bins. Nobody wants to make a street unclean.
Colombo is greener these days due to the plants and trees grown by the roadside. Vihara Maha Devi Park, canals, and the beaches are cleaner. Parliament area is like a park now.
The other main area the authorities should look at is the public toilets. There should be more public toilets and they should be kept clean. I don’t mind even private sector companies coming in and offering better service for a bigger fee. Even though some toilet signs are displayed in fuel stations only very few of them have toilets. This should be made compulsory for fuel stations and roadside hotels.