In a debate of whether a nuclear war or artificial intelligence is a threat to our planet, we are missing out on how pollution leading to climate change is affecting the quality of life on Earth.
Unfortunately, Asia is the center to some of the most polluted places on the planet and many of these cities are in India. Some major cities of the country, especially the capital Delhi is a place where streets are littered with plastic bottles, wrappers, and even cow dung. As many places struggle to deal with the trash problem, a small village in the Meghalaya state of India just got labeled as the “Asia’s Cleanest Village.”
The village was first brought to limelight in 2003 when a Discover Magazine journalist called it to be the cleanest village in Asia. All residents of the place, from young children to the elderly, try their level best to keep the place squeaky clean. When he investigated the truth while staying in Mawlynnong, he was amazed at the dedication of every person to this cleaning task. The village houses a small community of about 600 people. Once the article was published, people from all over the world began to visit the place to witness the cleanliness of that state themselves.
You may think of it as a way of marketing the country’s tourism, but that is not true for this place. Generations of the people of Mawlynnong have given this place an utmost respect with extreme cleanliness, but no one knows how it started. According to some people, a cholera outbreak, some 130 years ago, may have sparked the efforts to encourage and practice the cleanliness to prevent such diseases. Some also think that it could be the matrilineal society of the local Khasi people where women are the main drivers of cleanliness and sanitation.
The locals of the village have set up an extremely simple and effective method to keep the area clean while keeping the entire community involved. The children in the village pick up teasel brooms and begin sweeping the streets to remove dirt and leaves every morning. Then they empty the bamboo trash baskets and separate the organic waste from reusable plastics and burnable garbage.
All the organic matter is buried in a large pit to be used as compost while the plastics are repurposed right there. Everything else is burned outside the village where both smoking and use of plastics is banned. The only plastic in the trash cans is the one that is used by the visitors; it is also littered later. However, locals never raise a finger and just clean the garbage after their departure.
The village is one of the very few Indian communities where every household has a separate toilet, so open-defecation is not a problem there. The only source of electrical power in the village is green energy, mostly solar. A team of gardeners has dedicated themselves to this task of taking care of the plants and flowers lining the roads and alleys. The cleanliness of the village is not limited to the public places, but every household in the area is a talking proof of their cleanliness.
Wish for your place to become as wonderful as the village of Mawlynnong? It may not be as easy as it sounds, but this village is an incredible example and living wonder that proves that you can do it if you want it!