Going the extra mile

Cleanliness day

Going the extra mile

Citizen groups have been quietly but steadily working towards making Bengaluru a cleaner place to live in. They firmly believe in the saying, ‘Cleanliness is next to godliness’, and have been doing their bit to create  awareness among the people about the necessity to keep the environment clean.

With another ‘National Cleanliness Day’ being observed today, members of citizen groups such as ‘Whitefield Rising’ and ‘Adopt-A-Mile’, and a few Resident Welfare Associations have chalked out elaborate plans for maintaining clean roads, segregating garbage, preventing dumping of waste in stormwater drains and are dissuading people from sticking handbills and posters on walls.

    They confess that they hope to continue their mission to render the City clean despite limited public participation.

Dr Shankara Prasad, resident of Rajarajeshwari Nagar and an active member of a citizen’s movement called Sachidananda Nagar Nyayapara Andolana, says, “Through our programmes, we have been trying to educate  people about the necessity to segregate garbage. We have picked a few people from among our members and put each one them in charge of a street to make sure segregation is done and people don’t throw garbage.

But there is a reluctance among people to fall in line,” reasons Dr Shankara. He says those who volunteer to clean up the surroundings give up easily because of non-cooperation. He points out that people have resorted to sticking posters across the City because it comes free. “This is one segment that is not controlled or monitored at all,” he observes.

Most groups have a lot of youngsters taking part in campaigns and activities. Anant Ramachandran, a part of ‘Adopt-A-Mile’  Bengaluru, sees youngsters’ involvement as a positive sign. “I see a lot of older people saying things will not change but youngsters are coming forward and working for a change. They believe that they can make a difference and it is this belief that is reflecting in the changes that we have begun to see around us,” says Anant.

   He concedes that it is almost impossible to bring about any change overnight but feels that if these groups keep at it, then people will fall in line.

The City is also home to a large number of expatriates who agree that a lot needs to be done to ensure a clean City. “I’ve seen people throwing waste from the balconies, especially when one no one is watching. In our apartment, the mission of segregating garbage has failed because people didn’t cooperate and the enforcing agencies lacked the teeth to implement the existing laws in a forceful manner,” reasons Marion Heinicke, a native of Holland, who has been in the City for a while now. “People must do their bit like cleaning up the muck in their own houses and streets. This can certainly make a difference,” she asserts.

Most youngsters across the City think it helps to be a part of active groups in the vicinity because that is perhaps the first step towards being responsible in keeping the City clean. Gowri, a professional who is engaged in the sphere of social development, thinks that freedom comes with a lot of responsibility.

    “I’ve noticed that most of the time people take freedom for granted and abstain from their responsibility. The surroundings are so dirty. No matter how much it is cleaned, the waste comes back. For one, there is indiscipline and lack of civic sense on the part of the people, on the other hand, the authorities just don’t seem to bother at all,” says Gowri.
She says that she usually doesn’t believe that laws can make a substantial difference to
altering a person’s behaviour.

     “But here, I think there must be a stringent enforcement of laws to prevent people from throwing garbage in the open, littering the streets and spitting from moving
vehicles,” she says.
 

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