Gather, clean, repeat

Trash talk

Volunteers from the Swachh Karkala Brigade clean the waterbodies

India’s strength is its youth, but streamlining young energy for the nation’s holistic welfare is a challenge as massive as the young population itself. Of all the measures the nation has taken to motivate the young minds, the only sure way has been to push them to motivate themselves. When they begin to see positive consequences of their actions, they volunteer to make a difference.

Substantiating this claim is a group of young men in Karkala, Udupi, who have cleaned the town premises and made a difference within a span of 15 weeks.

It started off when Vipul M K, an advocate by profession, began cleaning the premises of his household and the adjacent lane on a Sunday, and four youngsters from the vicinity joined him.

Over a conversation, they decided to extend the cleanliness campaign to a few more weekends. The vicinity had a brook, and the famous Anekere Lake just around the corner was often littered.

This was the inception of the ‘Swachh Karkala Brigade’.

Over the next few weekends, the team of five began cleaning the smaller brooks that join Anekere. They were loaded with plastic waste.

Come monsoon, the waste flowed right into the large Anekere Lake, which supplies water to the entire town. The lake also posed as a picturesque location at the heart of Karkala.

The campaign then moved to clean the premises of Anekere itself. At a point when more people joined the brigade on Sunday mornings, the team decided to go online about the habitual cleanliness drive. 

Growing numbers...

It has now become an unmatched group where people, government officials and even former military men join hands.

The team now stands at a solid 50 members, who come together every Sunday to clean a new vicinity.

Once, the fire brigade of Karkala joined the team on a Sunday. They provided the team a raft and life jackets to aid the cleaning of the lake.

The team also gains strength when the Anti-Naxal force of Karkala and a number of ‘visiting’ members who take time out of their Sundays join them.

The team has also had a few mid-week events such as the Kargil Vijay Diwas, when they cleaned the war memorial in the Anekere park and facilitated the celebrations despite rains.

Over a span of 15 weeks, the team has cleaned major locations around the town such as the Ramasamudra Lake, Sigadikere Lake, the Bahubali Hill, the Chaturmukha Basadi premises...

The team has taken care of dead animals packed in plastic and discarded into water sources, used sanitary napkins littered on streets, and of course, loads of plastic waste.

The team has also planted 30 saplings atop the Bahubali Hill and 300 saplings around the town on Krishna Janmashtami.

After every cleaning drive, the team leaves behind a board which requests people not to litter and to be mindful of cleanliness.

The team says they shall continue the campaign till they see no more waste in the town and till people are made aware that cleanliness is a primary virtue. 

They have not received funds or material support from external sources. Most of them have chipped in to buy cleaning equipment including spades and recycled waste bags.

People have volunteered to contribute, and the team hopes to take help in the near future.  Anyone willing to be a part of the team is welcome to join in without intimation.

Upcoming cleanliness drives are uploaded on their social media pages well in advance.

The team offers material required to clean waste.

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