Keep Delhi Clean & Beautiful

Growing up in the states, you get used to civic signs boasting of the clean & green efforts that cities undergo. Delhi is no different, it is one of the greenest cities in all of Asia, with trees everywhere and many untouched natural zones. However, the polution in residential zones & along major highways is pretty dramatic. It is not uncommon to find roadside dumps, or so it would appear to the uneducated. As you'll see below, it is possible for an entire economy to be flourishing near, in or on top of these dumps.

At a stoplight near the Indian Institute of Technology, I came upon an illegal slum wedged between University structures and the posh residential zone. The sight of a slum is not new, although I had never seen one that seemed to be built with mounds of trash on top of every home.

To open this picture in another, larger, window simply double click. Surrounding these homes are functioning businesses. A tire repair shop, an STD (phone booth), a market.

Why is this post titled Keep Delhi Clean & Beautiful?

Good Question! Look again at the image. Do you a man with a rolling cart. This man, is employed by the city of Delhi to clean the streets. He and his colleague are sweeping the streets of Delhi by hand. He is busy making sure the gutter of this main road is clean. Yes, civic dollars at work, cleaning the street surrounding the trash ghetto.

This contrast of modernity & old ways is present all over Delhi. The amount of change this country has undergone in the last 10 years is amazing, but the amount left to go is still quite staggering. It is clearly not enough for India to create white collar service jobs, they need a plan for the inner city poor, and the agricultural societies in the rural areas. Without getting too political, I think it is important to note that the US & EU play a critical role in blocking the agricultural development in India by levying import taxes, leaving a country capable of crop exports with nowhere to sell them. The solution to India's problems is not one dimensional, and will take years to enact. It is exciting to see the change here, but there are always reminders of how far we all have to go.