I was just browsily browsing through Facebook this morning when I discovered the lovely town of Mawlynnong, in India. Go ahead, google it.
It’s billed as the cleanest village in India, and it truly looks like an environmental paradise. The main road was pristine, and tall flowering hedges lined the sides. It wasn’t just clean. It looked like walking through a well kept and exquisitely landscaped botanical center. But, what did they do to get to be India’s cleanest village? A few common sense things, that could be repeated most places. The schoolchildren come out every morning to sweep the street. There are little, wicker, garbage baskets everywhere, garbage is sorted and everything organic is composted. They use solar panels. They store rainwater. Every home has an indoor toilet (for India, that’s kind of a big deal). Smoking is forbidden. So are plastic bags.
Now, some of this stuff might not be so easily repeatable elsewhere. The no smoking part would be seriously hard to enforce in any town big enough that people are moving in and out without everybody in town knowing every thing about them, which is most towns. In a town of 500 people, it’s a bit more difficult to be a secret smoker.
Also, there’s the fact that a lot of the 500 people in town are related to each other, and they all go to the same church. They are christians, and cleanliness seems to be a central tenet of their local version of that infinitely flexible faith. So, it’s sort of like Salt Lake City, on a much smaller scale.
I’m all for it, and I think a lot of the ideas could be emulated by other, and larger communities. Nothing to lose by trying.