One of the oft repeated experiences that many foreigners share as their first impressions of India is that India stinks. Even before the eyes can capture how Indian cities look, the smells from the surrounding wafts through the air to the unprepared nose right at an airport or a railways station. As a Chennaite, the smell of Cooum is quite striking and overbearing even for me.
Now, I am not suggesting that Indians are dirty. Not at all. Indians' sense of personal hygiene is high but realization that it is their responsibility to keep the surroundings also clean is growing, only now.
In this regard, Swachh Bharat campaign comes as a breath of fresh air. Hope it does leave a mark on the nose and the minds.
I am no expert on garbage management but one tactical idea to address the issue would be set up an economic zone for the Perfume industry near all major airports and railway stations. Just like the perfume mask our body odour, I am hoping they will over power odour reaching travellers.
Once upon a time, Chennaites could easily identify that they have reached Pallavaram based on the nice smell emanating from the now-closed Pond's factory. I believe there is a reference in Silapathikram that in the olden days travellers could assure themselves that they have reached closer to Madurai by the sweet smell of food cooked.
Till such time that the long term measures are in place to make sure India takes a clean bath why not mask the odour with perfume! :)