Definitions of cleanliness can, of course, be very different across the world. I’ve seen people spitting on pristine streets in China, and broken pots left to decay neatly by the roadside in Africa. Monaco provides dispensers with free bags for cleaning up after your dog, but some visitors are surprised to see the used bags just lying in the gutter. This however is the Monegasque way: they must wait there until collection.
According to the 2014 Mercer Global Financial list of the world’s cleanest cities, Calgary, Canada’s oil capital was top of the cleanliness pile, followed by Adelaide, Honolulu, Minneapolis and Kobe.
To anyone who travels much to Europe, it might seem odd there’s not a single Swiss city in the top 10. Ultra-calm Zurich has been Mercer’s second-best city for quality of life for years (Calgary comes in a lowly 33rd in the life stakes) but it figures nowhere on the cleanliness list.
The Mercer study is based on five hygiene-based factors: the availability and drinkability of water, waste removal, quality of sewage systems, air pollution, and traffic congestion. Curiously litter, a very visible indicator of cleanliness, is not considered at all.
By 2020, Calgary intends to divert 80% of its waste away from landfills
To be fair, Calgary can also boast litter-free streets. Thousand-dollar fines for dropping cigarette butts or throwing rubbish out of a car window have had a positive impact on the city. But for Mercer, Calgary ranks top of the list due to its green initiatives. As well as following Alberta’s Too Good to Waste programme, which aims to decrease how much waste is sent to landfill, environmental charity Green Calgary also promotes a greener lifestyle for Calgarians by offering tips on everything from improving your composting to how to pack a litter-less lunch. The organisation, which has been in operation since 1978, also “seeks to empower Calgarians to create healthy homes and communities through environmental education, products and services”. By 2020 the city intends to divert 80% of its waste away from landfills.
Yet when it comes to awarding marks for effort, spotless Singapore really should score high on any list given the way it enforces cleanliness and tidiness. The island city-state has draconian laws about many things, from pornography to tipping. In the 1960s, Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew introduced strict anti-litter laws, which are still in force today.
Anyone convicted of dropping litter can be fined up to S$1,000 (£480) for the first conviction. Repeat convictions cost up to $5,000, and may lead to a community service orders or anti-littering lectures (only given in Chinese), to curb repeat offenders. In the case of a third offence, law-breakers may be made to wear a sign reading “I am a litter lout”.
Singapore also fines people for putting spent chewing gum anywhere other than a bin ($100), for urinating in lifts ($500), and for failing to flush a public lavatory ($100). Spot checks are regularly made by police officers in public toilet cubicles – there is no point having a law if it’s not enforced.
The result of these fines is plain to see: Singapore is a very clean and tidy island state, albeit one that has also sacrificed certain civil liberties (and, perhaps, a certain amount of creativity). That said, it would take a very dyed-in-the-wool libertarian to fight for the right to pee in an elevator.
There are less punitive ways to be clean and tidy, however. Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, seems to have achieved a clean and litter-free environment without the threat of harsh fines. Not on any of Mercer’s lists, modern Kigali isn’t exactly beautiful. It rises up on a tree-covered slope and is mainly built of concrete, but the level of upkeep is extraordinary.
Indeed, the city’s roundabouts are so well-swept and the grass so well-maintained that wedding couples sprint across the traffic to be photographed in the middle of them. Unusually, this has been achieved not through punishment, but by the principle of Umuganda. This word has many meanings relating to “community” and “payment”, and dates back before Rwanda was part of Belgium’s African empire.
In the 19th century, a number visitors recorded that Rwandans were required to work two days a week for their community leader and during Belgian rule Umuganda was encouraged as a way of bolstering civic responsibility. In the years before the 1994 genocide, President Juvénal Habyarimana emphasised it as part of his concept of “true” Rwandan identity. “True Rwandans” provided free labour for state-led projects like school building, road works, the construction of sanitation facilities and digging of anti-erosion ditches. Unfortunately Habyarimana’s true Rwandans, by extension, also belonged to the Hutu tribe, and Umuganda eventually became caught up in ideas of racial purity.
After taking office in 2000, President Paul Kagame harnessed Umuganda to help clean up his gun and shell-strewn capital, as well as to promote the idea of a cohesive national identity through communal projects. Under Kagame, Umuganda was formalised as a collective event on the last Saturday in each month when traffic – including airport taxis – is stopped for three hours in the morning, and the city comes together to tidy up. This can be problematic if you have a flight to catch. This day is called umunsi w’umuganda (contribution made by the community) and all able-bodied people between the ages of 18 and 65 are required by law to participate. The knock-on effect of such conscientious cleaning up is, of course, that people are less inclined to drop litter in the first place.
Significantly, although President Kagame is known for his toughness, no one I spoke to in Kigali was aware of penalties for dropping litter in their city. It simply is not something that occurs. People will tell you with great pride that their city is “cleaner than New York and London”, and the army of poorly-paid female cleaners who seek out litter and tend the grass consider this work their patriotic duty.
“When foreign people come to this city and later return to their countries exclaiming about our city’s cleanliness, that itself motivates me to keep doing my work even better,” says Théodosia Vuganeza of the Ikondera Women’s Cleaning Cooperative.
The mayor of Kigali is now introducing cleanliness and hygiene awareness lessons into primary schools, taking his cue from President Kagame’s assertion that Kigali does not need international aid “to keep its backyards clean”.
The cleanliness of Kigali is a pleasing rebuttal to Forbes’ list, which declared in 2007 that the cleanest cities in the world were “largely located in countries noted for their democracy and their industrialisation” and that there are “no top-25 clean cities in South or Central America, Africa and Australia”. The magazine concluded “clean may also mean well-off”.
Which is the safest city in the world?
But in less affluent countries, voluntary clean-ups may be the coming thing. Dar es Salaam in Tanzania is one of 91 cities worldwide to take part International Coastal Cleanup Day, which involved ridding beaches of litter and waste. The Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, neither of them wealthy states, are also among the list of countries playing a key role in the coastal cleanup. This year’s volunteers cleared 16 million pounds of garbage from beaches around the world.
So, if Singapore is proof that cleanliness can be achieved by legislation, Kigali and Dar es Salaam are definitely proof that motivation and communal spirit can work as well. Calgary, on the other hand, falls somewhere between the two. It’s also the least interesting of the three cities to visit – but that’s a whole other list.
Finally one has to ask, does it matter? Last year a Ugandan looking at Kigali told me wistfully that Kampala used to be as pristine as Kigali: “Why can’t we keep our capital clean and tidy anymore?”
So, if you live there I think it matters, very much.
Cleanliness is the state of keeping clean and remains away from dirt to achieve and maintain the good physical and mental health.
Essay on Cleanliness
A small step from the end of every Indian citizen can be a big step for fulfilling the purpose of the Narendra Modi’s ‘Clean India’ campaign. We should teach the purpose and importance of the cleanliness in our daily lives to our kids. Here we have provided various short and long essay on cleanliness for your school going kids and children. Let them learn about cleanliness using such simple cleanliness essay:
Cleanliness Essay 1 (100 words)
Cleanliness is not a work which we should do forcefully. It is a good habit and healthy way of our healthy life. All type of cleanliness is very necessary for our good health whether it is personal cleanliness, surrounding cleanliness, environment cleanliness, pet animal cleanliness or work place cleanliness (like school, college, office, etc). We all should be highly aware about how to maintain cleanliness in our daily lives. It is very simple to include cleanliness in our habit. We should never compromise with cleanliness, it is as necessary as food and water for us. It should be practiced from the childhood which can only be initiated by each parent as a first and foremost responsibility.
Cleanliness Essay 2 (150 words)
Cleanliness is a good habit which everyone should have to have healthy life and standard lifestyle. Our Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has started a cleanliness campaign called “Clean India” or “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan”. We should understand that cleanliness it not only responsibility of our prime minister however, it is the responsibility of each and every person living on this earth. We conjointly should actively participate in this campaign for the healthy lives of all of us.
Cleanliness should be initiated at home, school, college, society, community, office, organization and country level to bring a clean India revolution all over the India. We need to clean ourselves, home, surrounding areas, society, community, city, garden, and environment on daily basis. We all should understand the motto, importance and necessity of cleanliness and must try to apply it in our daily lives. Cleanliness among students in the schools are promoted through many activities like cleaning of school campus, classrooms, labs, poster making on cleanliness, waste segregation, essay writing, painting on cleanliness, poems recitation, group discussion, documentary videos etc.
Cleanliness Essay 3 (200 words)
Cleanliness should be taken as the first and foremost responsibility by everyone. Everyone should understand that cleanliness is as necessary as food and water. However, we should give cleanliness a first priority instead of the food and water. As, we can be healthy only if we take everything within us in very clean and hygienic way. Childhood is very good time of everyone’s life during which the habit of cleanliness can be practiced just like walking, speaking, running, reading, eating, etc under the careful and regular watch of the parents.
In the school and colleges, students are given lots of projects and home works on the topic of various type of cleanliness. It is very important topic now a day, as, a huge population are dying daily just because of diseases caused due to the lack of cleanliness. So it is very necessary to be aware about the importance and necessity of the cleanliness in our life. We all together need to take a step towards cleanliness to save thousands of lives and give them healthy life. Our Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has started a campaign called ‘Clean India’. We all as an Indian citizen should show our active participation in completing the aim and objectives of this campaign.
Cleanliness Essay 4 (250 words)
Cleanliness is not a job which we have to do to earn money however, it is a very good habit which we should do to earn a good health and healthy life. Cleanliness is a greatest virtue which should be followed by everyone as a great responsibility to enhance the standard of life. We should take care of our personal cleanliness, pet animal cleanliness, environment cleanliness, surrounding cleanliness and work place cleanliness. We should not cut trees and do more plantations for maintaining the cleanliness of our environment.
It is not a forceful act but we should do it peacefully. It keeps us healthy mentally, physically, socially and intellectually. A small step of all of us can be converted to big step conjointly. When a small baby can learn to walk, speak and run very successfully, she/he can get the habit of cleanliness from childhood very easily if promoted by parents. Parents teach their child to walk by holding index finger as it is very necessary to live whole life. They must understand that cleanliness is also very necessary to live a healthy and long life so they must implement cleanliness habit into their kids. It is a big step to bring cleanliness into habit of our kids. So, a complete cleanliness is not far away from us. It is only one generation away of 4 to 5 years as in modern time our small kid become smart enough to understand everything.
Cleanliness Essay 5 (300 words)
Cleanliness is a clean habit which is very necessary to all of us. Cleanliness is a habit of keeping ourselves physically and mentally clean including with our home, pet animals, surroundings, environment, pond, river, schools, etc. We should keep ourselves neat, clean and well dressed all time. It helps in making a good personality and impression in the society as it reflects a clean character. We should maintain the environment and natural resources (water, food, land, etc) cleanliness together with our body cleanliness in order to make the possibility of life existence forever on the earth.
Cleanliness makes us healthy in every aspect like mental, physical, social and intellectual. Generally, we all noticing in our homes that our grandmothers and moms are very strict about the cleanliness before worship, it is not another thing, they just try to make cleanliness our habit. But they follow wrong way as they never describe us the benefits and purpose of cleanliness that’s why we get problem in following cleanliness. Every parent should logically describe and discuss their kids about the benefits, purpose, necessity, etc of the cleanliness. They must tell us that cleanliness is the first and foremost thing in our lives like food and water.
We should always take care and observe our personal and surrounding cleanliness to make our future bright and healthy. We should take bath with soap, cur our nails, wear well washed and pressed clothes on daily basis. We should learn from our parents about how to keep home neat and clean. We should not make our surrounding areas dirty as it spread diseases. We should wash our hands with soap every time we go to eat something. We should drink safe, clean and well purified water all through the day. We never eat junk foods, stale foods or other ready-made liquids.
Cleanliness Essay 6 (400 words)
Cleanliness is the act of keeping our body, mind, dress, home, surroundings and other work area neat and clean. Cleanliness of the body is very necessary for our physical and mental health. Cleanliness of the surrounding areas and environment is very necessary for the social and intellectual health. We should bring cleanliness to our habits and remove dirty forever from everywhere as dirt is the mother which gives birth to various diseases. One always suffers health disorders if he/she does not take bath daily, wears dirty clothes, keep house and surroundings dirty, etc. Dirty things in the surrounding areas or home gives rise to the various disease causing germs, bacteria, virus and fungus.
People having dirty habits also become the reason of spreading dangerous and fatal (life threatening) diseases. Infectious diseases are spread to vast areas and make people ill and sometimes death. So, we should take care of our cleanliness on regular basis. We should wash hands thoroughly with soap whenever we eat something. We always keep our face and whole body neat and clean by frequent bathing. We should take care of our clothes and only wear well washed clean clothes for our good physical and mental health. Cleanliness also improves the confidence level and self-respect as well as respect from others. It is a good habit which keeps us always happy. It makes us feel very proud in the society.
Cleanliness is very necessary to maintain our healthy lifestyle and standard of living. It plays a great role in making a person popular. Various programmes and civil laws has been run and implemented by the government of India in order to promote the awareness about cleanliness among the common public all over India. We all should acquire the clean habits from our childhood and follow onwards throughout the life. Dirt gives rise to the moral evil however gives rise to the moral purity. A person with clean habits can destroy his/her evil desires and dirty thoughts very easily.
We should take care about the wastes of our daily lives and put in only in the dustbin for proper disposal and prevent infections to get spread in the home or surrounding. Cleanliness is not the responsibility of only one person however; it is the responsibility of each and every individual living in the home, society, community and country. We should understand its multifarious facets to fully get benefited. We all should take a cleanliness oath that we never do dirty and never see anyone doing dirty.
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