Five years of Swachh Bharat Mission: Survey finds 72% believe cities now cleaner, but 88% report garbage still dumped in public spaces

  • LocalCircles survey over a 5-year period shows the impact of Swachh Bharat over time

  • Municipal responsiveness comes out as a major concern

  • Slow improvement in availability of public toilets according to citizens

  • Only 20% believe that their municipality is taking steps to control vector-borne diseases

For the fifth year in a row, LocalCircles has conducted its annual Swachh Bharat survey across India and the results of this year show improvement in the state of cleanliness in the country. The big positive being the number of citizens who believe that their neighbourhood and city have become cleaner due to the Swachh Bharat Mission. This number has increased from 67 percent last year to 72 percent this year.

However, the second stage of Swachh Bharat Mission now need to be linked to enhancing public health, reducing plastic waste and improving local level municipal engagement. The availability of public toilets has remained almost the same, with the numbers standing at 43 percent this year, compared to 45 percent last year. Civic sense also shows some improvement when compared to last year. The effect of the Swachh Bharat Mission on children is again evident in this year’s survey, but the responsiveness of the municipal corporations has gone down slightly.

Started in October 2014, Swachh Bharat Online Citizen Communities have been in the forefront of making citizens aware about the importance of cleanliness in the country. Over 355,000 citizens have become part of the various Swachh Bharat citizen communities across India. These communities enable citizens to give collective inputs on various aspects of Swachh Bharat policy and state of things in real time.

 Five years of Swachh Bharat Mission: Survey finds 72% believe cities now cleaner, but 88% report garbage still dumped in public spaces

Key survey highlights

● 72 percent citizens believe there is some improvement in cleanliness in their neighbourhood and city because of Swachh Bharat
● 30 percent citizens say their municipal staff/councillors have become more responsive
● 43 percent citizens believe availability of public toilets in their city has improved since Swachh Bharat
● 55 percent citizens believe Swachh Bharat has been effective in making School Children aware and impart values like cleanliness and civic sense
● 55 percent citizens believe Civic Sense has improved in the last 4 years as a result of Swachh Bharat efforts
● Only 20 percent citizens say their municipal corporation is effectively conducting fogging, taking care of water bodies to control vector borne diseases
● Only 40 percent believe their municipality has become more responsive to complaints on garbage collection, waste disposal and street cleaning
● 88 percent citizens say they frequently observe plastic, hazardous or C&D waste being dumped in their city along with garbage and at non-designated spots

The comparison of the 5-year Swachh Bharat survey with the 4-year Swachh Bharat survey showed the following results:

● 72 percent this year believe their neighbourhood & city is cleaner, compared to 67 percent last year
● 43 percent this year said availability of public toilets has in their city has increased compared to 45 percent last year
● 40 percent this year say their municipality has become more responsive to cleanliness related complaints, compared to 44 percent who said the same last year
● 20 percent said their municipality has taken effective measures to control vector borne diseases this year compared to 26 percent last year
● 55 percent this year, compared to 52 percent last year said that civic sense had improved due to Swachh Bharat
● 88 percent this year compared 83 percent last year said that they frequently observe plastic, hazardous or construction & demolition waste dumped in their city at non-designated spots
● 55 percent citizens both this year said Swachh Bharat Mission has been effective in positively influencing children about cleanliness compared to 62 percent last year

Overall, the results of the 5 years of Swachh Bharat survey shows that there has been a good improvement in the state of cleanliness of the country. The comparison of the 2-year, 3-year 4-year and 5-year survey also shows that the Swachh Bharat Mission has constantly reminded citizens about the importance of cleanliness, and they have made conscious efforts to make their surroundings cleaner. After the first year, only 23 percent citizens had reported cleaner neighbourhood and city when compared with early 2014 (before the Swachh Bharat Mission was announced). This number increased to 61 percent in year 2, and has risen to 72 percent in this year’s survey.
The concerning numbers from this year’s survey are that of the observance of plastic, hazardous or construction & demolition waste being dumped at non-designated spots. Looks like more work will be required to be done in this area as the country still lacks identifiable and dedicated dump yards for construction & demolition waste.

Detailing of the Polls

Swachh Bharat National Poll 1 – Overall Cleanliness

Citizens were asked overall, when compared to the pre-Swachh Bharat times, how much better is their neighbourhood and city in terms of cleanliness now. 15 percent said the cleanliness situation is significantly better and 25 percent said it is much better. 32 percent said their area is slightly cleaner now, while 28 percent said their area is either same as before or has become worse.

pic 2

2-3-4-5 year comparison

The gradual improvement due to the Swachh Bharat Mission is evident.

pic 3

Swachh Bharat National Poll 2 – School Children

In response to the second question, 55 percent citizens said they believe Swachh Bharat Mission has been effective in making school children aware and impart values like cleanliness and civic sense. 27 percent said it the mission has not been that effective. 18 percent were unsure about it.

pic 4

2-3-4-5 year comparison

The Mission seems to be rubbing off well on children with the numbers proving the same.

pic 5

When asked if their municipality has become more responsive in the last 5 years to complaints on garbage collection, waste disposal and street cleaning, 40 percent answered in an affirmative while 54 percent answered in a negative.

Swachh Bharat National Poll 3 – Municipal Response

pic 6

2-3-4-5 year comparison

This year again, municipal response has been an area of concern. Citizens believe that the local municipal bodies are not aligned with the Swachh Bharat Mission, making its success slow.

pic 7

Swachh Bharat National Poll 4 – Public Toilets Availability

43 percent also said that the availability of public toilets has improved in their city in the last 5 years and 45 percent said it was not the case.

pic 8

2-3-4-5 year comparison

Creation of public toilets has been one of the most talked about area of the Swachh Bharat Mission. The improvement in their availability is clear from this year’s survey results as well.

pic 8

Swachh Bharat National Poll 5 – Dumping of Waste

Plastic, hazardous or construction & demolition waste still seems to be an issue with which citizens are struggling. In the absence of specified dumping site for C&D waste, 88 percent citizens said they have frequently observed these wastes dumped in their city along with garbage, or at non-designated spots.

pic 9

2-3-4-5 year comparison

Irresponsible waste dumping stays a big issue as the results show it has increased in the last 12 months.

pic 10

Swachh Bharat National Poll 6 – Vector Borne Diseases

Only 20 percent the next poll said that their municipal corporation is effectively conducting fogging, taking care of water bodies to control vector borne diseases. 70% said they this is not being done effectively.

pic 11

2-3-4-5 year comparison
This is a concerning number as even after 5 years of Swachh Bharat, majority believe municipal corporations do not work proactively to minimize mosquito & vector borne diseases.

pic 12

Swachh Bharat National Poll 7 – Civic Sense

55 percent also said that the civic sense in India has improved in the last 5 years given the efforts by Government and citizens on Swachh Bharat. 41 percent said civic sense has not improved.

pic 13

2-3-4-5 year comparison

Civic sense shows a slow but gradual improvement

pic 14

Swachh Bharat National Poll 8 – Municipal Councillors

The final questions asked if the municipal staff/councillor of their area become more responsive after 5 years of Swachh Bharat. 63 percent answered in a ‘no’ while 30 percent answered in a ‘yes’

pic 15

The Swachh Bharat Mission has been one of the largest programs of its kind in any part of the world. The amount of capital and workforce that has gone into making it a success is just phenomenal. It has definitely brought in a behavioural change in the citizens. With more than 100 million toilets been constructed in the rural areas and a mark improvement in cleanliness in various Indian cities, SBM is being touted as a ‘example-setting program for the world’. Citizens hope that the next stage of the Swachh Bharat Mission will have an even better impact of the cleanliness situation and the civic sense of the country.

Survey platform and demographics
The national survey on five years of Swachh Bharat was conducted in the Swachh Bharat National Circle on LocalCircles to gauge the impact and performance of Swachh Bharat in a transparent manner. The objective was to understand what’s working and where efforts need to be put in going forward. More than 72,000 votes were polled in the survey from over 35,000 unique participants located in around 220 districts in India, making it the largest civic survey of its kind.

Updated Date: Oct 02, 2019 09:59:59 IST