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Global Education

Village becomes environmental model

By Deanna Badizadegan
Published: September 2009

As global warming becomes more of an international issue, countries and societies are beginning to evaluate their consumption of energy and resources. Countries that waste resources gain negative publicity, and small cities like Mawlynnong in India come to the public’s attention.

Mawlynnong, located in the north-eastern Indian state Meghalaya near the Bangladeshi border, has earned a reputation as the cleanest and best educated city in India. 

Volunteers in the city rise at 5 am to sweep the roads, which are lined with bamboo dustpans. The villagers pick up all kinds of litter, even fallen leaves, and put them into these dustpans.

The village council has imposed fines for littering or cutting down trees. Though the fine is only one dollar, the villagers refrain from committing such offenses due to the humiliation and embarrassment they know they would suffer.

The villagers do not use plastic, and compost all trash in pits in the forest. Keeping their village clean and environmentally friendly has engrained itself into the mindset of the villagers, who take pride in their clean city.

As an environmentally friendly city, Mawlynnong has become a tourist site. Many people from other cities in India come to see the swept roads and spotless streets, and are very impressed by the cleanliness.
But the villagers resist turning the city into an eco-tourist site. The people are proud of their work because they care about the city and the environment, and do not want people from other traditions to impose their ideas on the village.

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