Look before you bite. Next time before you rip open a pack of freshly baked biscuits, brace for some cleanliness lessons, courtesy Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC).
And don’t be surprised if this small step finally leads to a giant stride of transforming Kolkata into London.
In a renewed drive to teach the cleanliness mantra, KMC authorities are taking the appeal to keep the city clean to yet-unexplored avenues, one of which is printing messages on biscuit packets much in the style of statutory warnings on cigarette packets.
The civic authority bosses are in talks with biscuit giants – Britannia, Priya, Parle and Bisk Firm for carrying these slogans on every biscuit packet they produce.
“Just as statutory warnings are conspicuously printed on cigarette packs, we want a cleanliness slogan in every biscuit packet. It should hit consumers hard. It is also the best way to reach all households,” said Debabrata Majumder, member mayor-in-council (solid waste management).
“All these biscuit companies need a trade licence from KMC. They take a lot from the society and now it is the time to give something back to the society. Only cleanliness alone can transform Kolkata into London, something Mamata Banerjee wishes so fervently,” said a senior official of solid waste managament.
Why biscuits of all products? First, almost everybody consumes biscuits that would ensure the message percolates everywhere. Second, biscuit packets are made of plastics that are littered regularly.
The challenge for KMC, now, is to coin a catchy slogan. Solid waste management department officials are working hard to come up with an attractive slogan. They need to finalise it before the meeting with the biscuit companies takes place at the end of June. KMC is also launching a new cleanliness campaign with the slogan ‘Chokchoke Kolkata’ (The sparkling city).
‘Ami Sriman Bin, Amae Khete Din’ (I am a garbage bin. I am hungry) is one of the few slogans to be displayed at bus stops across the city.
“We have also approached corporate giants such as ITC, Coal India, Vodafone, Airtel to help us in the cleanliness campaign,” said Majumder.
Civic bosses also plan to take the campaign at the doorstep of city schools and colleges. “We will urge the educational institutions to make practical classes on neighbourhood cleanliness a mandatory exercise for all students,” the MMiC added.
Kolkata remains one of the most unclean metros with overflowing garbage dumps adorning arterial roads, people urinating and defecating on the roads and general public littering just about everywhere.