On 11th November, Sunday a bunch of 30-35 volunteers gathered round a signal in Bandra West to spread awareness in a unique rather positive way. The Anti-Spitting Campaign organised a “Rose Campaign” which aimed at spreading awareness with love.
The Rose Campaign
The event took place on the Sv Road- Linking Road junction near wildcraft at bandra, with a group of 5 volunteers targeting each signal. Volunteers had a bunch of roses in one hand, and stickers in the other, which said “Mein Bahar Nahi Thookonga. Mein hu Swacch Bharat.” Scheduled at 4 pm, the event went on for about 2 hours within which all of the 300 roses and stickers were distributed.
“We had an overwhelmingly positive response. People loved the fact that we held such adamant and strong beliefs in one side, and a rose to positively embellish the message in the other”, says Drishya Nair, one of the volunteers. “Most of them embraced their mistakes graciously, with a smile on their faces when we handed them the roses. But there were a few that outright denied chewing or spitting out. Infact, we even witnessed a few chewing paan (live) and when asked if they would spit it out, they denied saying that they would ingest it instead”, says Asawari Vedak, another volunteer.
Apart from spreading the message about spitting being a revolting habit, the campaign’s aim is to spread social awareness about other health hazards. “India has the highest rates of Tuberculosis in the WORLD! One of the leading causes is spitting in public, where the TB bacteria is found in human sputum”, says Neha Nambiar, founder of the Anti Spitting Campaign.
The campaign has also designed a portable spittoon, which serves their second objective of getting a temporary solution to the problem. They also aim to urge the government for stronger law enforcement with regards to spitting, littering and urinating in public.
According to sources, Maharashtra was the first state to introduce an Anti-Spitting bill with strict penalties such as a fine upto ₹5000 along with community service for habitual offenders. But when the law actually came into existence three years later in 2018, the fines were reduced to ₹150, completely scrapping off community service.
“Post the event, we got a great response. We were contacted by mediahouses, radio channels as well as people from different parts of the country asking us to conduct an event there”, says Nambiar.
“The next time you see someone spitting out, don’t overlook or ignore it. Confront the person, educate him/her. If not, we’re encouraging the habit”, say the volunteers when asked about a message for Mumbaikars. We sure will expect tons of events to be conducted by the Anti-Spitting Campaign. But as for now, they need maximum support Mumbaikars! Let’s stand up and eradicate this habit. #OmitTheSpit