Students in Shillong came together on September 30 morning for the ‘Spit-Free Shillong’ campaign, organised by the Inner Wheel Club of Shillong in collaboration with the Sare Jahan Se Acha Foundation. The event aimed to address the growing problem of public spitting in the city.
The Sare Jahan Se Acha Foundation is a Pune-based organisation dedicated to social initiatives, that has initiated a campaign against spitting in India. Founded by the couple, Narasimhan Raja and Priti Raja, this campaign aims to address the issue of spitting and its associated health hazards.
Sare Jahan Se Acha plans to collaborate with local groups in states like Nagaland, Arunachal, Tripura, and other northeastern regions to implement similar programmes as Meghalaya. However, they have temporarily excluded Manipur due to the ongoing tensions in the state.
The couple travels in a vehicle adorned with a slogan that reads “Don’t spit #CleanIndiaHealthyIndia” to raise awareness about their campaign. Priti Raja emphasised their commitment to finding innovative solutions for a Spit-Free India and their nationwide efforts to promote this cause.
During the programme, Priti Raja encouraged individuals to seek proper facilities like washrooms and drains or exercise self-control to prevent the spread of diseases caused by spitting in public places.
“Na thukenge na thukne denge” which translates as “We won’t spit, and we won’t let others spit,” was the highlight of her speech.
Addressing the gathering, East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner RM Kurbah reminded everyone that during the COVID-19 pandemic, spitting had decreased due to mask-wearing. However, she expressed concern over the resurgence of this unsightly habit, which is not only unsanitary but also defaces city walls.
Kurbah emphasised the need for collective action, stating, “The government cannot tackle this issue alone. Today’s awareness campaign is a starting point for citizens to work together to maintain a clean city. It is not just about our own homes but our entire city. The Inner Wheel Club’s efforts must continue.”
Additionally, the programme constituted a rally followed by a dance performance by the students of B.K Bajoria school and a skit presentation by Laban Bengalee Girls’ Higher Secondary School, prizes were awarded for the best slogans created by participants from various schools, and a collective pledge was taken to discourage spitting in public areas.