Akshay Kumar: Spitting is a disgusting habit

Updated: Nov 20, 2018, 12:57 IST | A Correspondent | Mumbai

At Jagran Pehel-led World Toilet Day session in city, Akshay Kumar asks citizens to take responsibility for keeping their surroundings clean

Actor Akshay Kumar attends the Jagran Pehel session at the 18th World Toilet Summit at Taj Lands End in Bandra on Monday. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Actor Akshay Kumar attends the Jagran Pehel session at the 18th World Toilet Summit at Taj Lands End in Bandra on Monday. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

Actor Akshay Kumar, a vocal advocate and supporter of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, was on his way to the ongoing 18th World Toilet Summit at Taj Lands End, Bandra, on Monday, when he saw a man spit while waiting at a traffic signal in Santacruz. When Kumar pulled him up for the act, the man, instead, expressed excitement at seeing the actor. "I asked him why he did it [spit]. He promised never to repeat it and asked for a selfie. Spitting is a disgusting habit," the actor said.

Even as Kumar turned down the man's request for a selfie as punishment, it made him realise that it is the mindset of people that needs to change. The actor was chief guest at a session organised by Jagran Pehel, the CSR arm of Jagran Prakashan Ltd, and RB (formerly Reckitt Beckinser).

Referring to the challenges of improving sanitation among the general public, Kumar said there was a tendency among slum dwellers to build toilets away from their homes. "People believe if they have a toilet inside their home, the dirt will lead to disease. By that logic, I should be ill all the time, as I have three toilets inside my residence."

Kumar said change begins at home, and shared that he has taken responsibility of keeping an area of 200 metres around his home clean. "People throw garbage on the road. Instead of chasing them, I take care of it [the littering] myself. If everyone starts doing their bit wherever they live, they can reduce the BMC's load. We keep expecting the government to take measures. But what are we doing to help?" he asked.

When quizzed about whether steep fines should be levied against offenders, as is the practice in Singapore, Kumar said, "Whether it's a heavy fine or something else, there should be strict measures. It's like what we were taught in school - there will be punishment if you don't do your homework."

The World Toilet Summit 2018 is organised by World Toilet Organisation that has been part of key advocacy and awareness initiatives. It provides participants an international networking platform to exchange knowledge, and leverage media and corporate support in an effort to influence policy-makers and governments to promote clean sanitation and public health policies.

Now, in its 18th year, the summit supports the government's Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. This year, the event was attended by delegates from various countries, including government representatives, members of development organisations and corporate houses.

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