Published: 29th May 2020
Spit not, Corona not: This Bengaluru resident is telling people not to spit in public places to curb COVID spread
If you are one among those people who spit at the public places, then it is high time that you stop doing it. Because Beautiful Bengaluru group is on high alert to stop you from spitting
While the whole country was creating awareness about wearing masks and gloves in public places to avoid spreading COVID-19, Odette Katrak, a resident and co-founder of a group called Beautiful Bengaluru, has been campaigning to stop people from spitting in public places. On March 16, 2020, she started a petition called #StopIndiaSpitting and more than 40,000 people signed this petition. Odette explains, "Among most of the Indians who signed this petition, they were a few foreign nationals who said that Indians must stop spitting in public places. We know this problem has existed for generations but it needs to change and I feel this COVID-19 crisis is the best time to change this attitude that people have. People must understand that the deadly virus spreads even if they spit. And this is the first step to stop spreading of COVID-19."
After signing this online petition, Beautiful Bengaluru also tweeted to PM Modi about #StopIndiaSpitting campaign and he needs to speak about it before the lockdown ends. As per the citizens' request and watching hundreds of people spitting on the streets, PM Modi spoke about this issue on his radio show, Mann Ki Baat on April 26, 2020. She says, "He explained that it is important for non-spitters to stop people from spitting in public places. That's when these incidents of people made to wipe the place where they had spit took place in Pune and a few other cities. Our intention is neither to punish people nor do we propagate that. Our thoughts and campaign only speak about stopping people from doing so."
Odette Katrak has started #StopIndiaSpitting campaign
Odette's campaign did not end there because she, along with her team members, conducted a survey to see how many people believe that spitting in public places is a problem. The survey included only two questions: Does the habit of spitting in public places bother you? Does this habit need to be urgently curbed? According to the results obtained from the survey, around 96.5% of people stated that this issue bothered them and 99.3% of people felt that the habit needs to be urgently curbed.
Now, the lockdown has been relaxed in Karnataka and it might soon relax in other states also. But what about spitting? There is no stopping to it and people continue to do so. Hence, Odette and her group have been printing No Spitting symbols on A4 sheets and giving it to people who want to stick it in their apartments, houses and even shops. Odette, who considers this as the best time to get rid of this old and bad habit, explains, "Not only the symbol, but we have also printed some text on these pages and are giving it to people who need it. Initially, we printed them only in Kannada and English but we understood that it does not help everybody. Therefore, we have printed it in 14 regional languages and gave it to the vendors, apartments, shopkeepers, pani puri vendors and others so that everyone will read and stop spitting. We are hoping to bring this change in Bengaluru and start spreading the same message to villages through volunteers."