Okhla area is facing many sanitation issues due to the combined impact of unplanned urbanization, municipal apathy and lack of sanitation awareness among local people. A few years back and largely even now, the uncleaned streets and roads, poor drainage and sewerage system, absence of garbage management system, polybag menace, water-logging, etc make a common seen in the area. However, there is a gradual improvement in the situation, thanks to the increasing awareness, public pressure on the municipal system and activities of the non-governmental organizations.
The Clean Okhla campaign of the Volunteers of Change (VoC) formally began on 2 October 2014, with the onset of Sawchha Bharat Abhiyan in the country. On that day, the VoC symbolically cleaned some part of Shaheen Bagh in association with Serving Human Foundation. Around 50 volunteers cleaned the street from the City Hospital in A Block to the first High Tension Wire pole of the main market of the colony.
Its demonstrative effect was marked in other colonies as well. For instance, Zakir Nagar Development Association undertook a similar drive the next week. Another organization of Batla House locality did the same next month.
However, it would be improper to say that people of the area got motivated due to the national clean India campaign of the central government. the issue of cleaning has been discussed in many local forums quite before that. Under the banner of the Earth Care Foundation, some social workers comprising doctors, engineers and other professionals began street cleaning every Sunday in the month of August the same year. Their drive sustained for about two years. Two local online portals, Okhlatimes.com and Okhlahealines, made ‘Clean Okhla’ their banner lines since their respective launch some years back.