No more spitting, please

I am glad that our Members of Parliament are now discussing issues that matter a great deal (“T >here are laws against spitting, but govts. walk around them” and “ >MPs against ‘Great Indian Spit’ trick”, both July 20). The habit of spitting is one of the primary causes for the spread of communicable diseases. However, while the state may be right in enforcing the law to ban the practice in public areas, it will be incorrect to penalise the public without providing adequate spittoons. A blanket ban would make it difficult to keep track of things. For example, how are you going to catch an offender who spits from his car and speeds away? And how do you penalise a poor person?

Prem K. Menon,


Public nonchalance, a widespread culture of betel and tobacco chewing, and poor health laws are what keep the practice going. Educating, sensitising and disseminating information about the need to stop spitting are vital steps to get rid of the mess. Perhaps we need to have time reserved on prime-time television for health spots that educate people about personal hygiene and good habits.

Marchang Reimeingam,


It is a pity that a country that dreams of entering the digital age is now drawn into a debate in Parliament and splitting hairs over ways and means to sensitise its population to the evils of spitting. I am reminded of an event reported in a German paper a few years ago. While on a visit to Germany, an Indian spat on the road. A passing German followed him and asked him for a handkerchief which the Indian graciously did, but unsuspectingly. The German collected the mess in the handkerchief, handed it back to the man and pointed to a spittoon nearby. In some rural communities, spitting prolifically is considered a status symbol. The act of spitting is very common in Tamil films. Swachh Bharat will succeed only if Indian men in particular realise the basics of hygiene.

S. Vasudevan,


Though seemingly innocuous, the act of spitting in public places is a ticking time bomb as far as infectious diseases are concerned. It’s time the country adopted a multi-pronged strategy to tackle this menace. Anti-spitting campaigns using posters, street plays and bulletin boards must form its core. Spittoons can be installed at public places but have to be regularly disinfected.

Mithun H.N.,

Chikkamagaluru, Karnataka

We get to live in a clean and healthy India based on how we act. A civic sense should be imbibed in children at a formative age. This is why the West is so ahead of us. Apart from this, children should also be taught about cleanliness and hygiene as they are the best teachers in any social initiative. The government should also engage the services of NGOs and college students in educating people about the hazards of spitting.

Veena Shenoy,

Thane, Maharashtra

Every time I see someone spitting in public, I request them not to do so. I once caught up with a young man who was spitting without a care in the world. He glared at me and said it was his ‘duty to spit’, an answer which left me shocked. Sometimes I have found men on motorbikes spitting all over. It is disgusting to have some of it flying in the wind. In Chennai, people have a curious habit of spitting in the middle of the road while crossing. I have scolded a few offenders and created minor traffic jams while arguing with them. The only ones who have listened to me are children — something which gives me some hope.

R. Usha,


India, China and South Korea feature among the three most significant spitting nations. In India, there are five patterns of expectoration or spitting that have been documented by health officials, which include spitting for religious reasons. The practice has sociocultural and gender dimensions.

In the developed world, the practice of spitting in public has declined largely due to behavioural and cultural changes. In the West, the 19th century saw anti-spitting campaigns which were a part of a wider anti-tuberculosis campaign. If India is to make headway in stopping this unsanitary habit, there has to be a proper campaign that looks at the bacteriological and biomedical impact of this practice.

Dr. Aparna Yeluru,

Bethesda, Maryland, U.S.

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Printable version | Nov 26, 2021 10:36:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/No-more-spitting-please/article14499359.ece

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