Chennai: “We spent a lot of time cleaning up the roadside and collecting all the garbage in the large green bin placed by the city corporation. We felt happy and proud, but that elation lasted only for a couple of hours as we found that neighbours had once again littered the whole area with their garbage. It was so depressing”.
That was Abhinav Krithivasan, aged 11 and a seventh class student at Sri Sankara senior secondary school, Adyar, and he was talking about the ‘ups and downs’ of cleaning up the roads outside his ‘Samudra’ apartment on the KK Road. In fact, that road is busier than even the busiest Anna Salai as hundreds of people use it as a quick alternative to ECR and LB Road for commuting between Kottivakkam and Besant Nagar.
“But these irresponsible people repeatedly littering our road are not going to discourage us from carrying on with our cleaning campaign that’s inspired by Prime Minister Modi’s Swachh Bharat programme. We will continue our work”, said Abhinav, whose friend Yohan Vinu of sixth standard in Abacus Montessori School, is also an active member of the KK Road cleaning brigade.
“We began this cleaning project last week and it made a big impact among the 20-odd families living in ‘Samudra’ apartments. We have created awareness about proper garbage disposal and avoiding plastics, particularly among the kids. We are also trying to educate the local shops about this”, said Anandhi Venkatesh, a homemaker.
The ‘Samudra’ families have pooled resources to buy the metal brooms, masks and gloves, besides other paraphernalia required for their massive battle against the compulsive ‘litterers’.
One solution to the problem of littering outside the bin is to leave a couple of more bins at that roadside by the corporation. But then, it does not appear that the civic body is as sensitive as it should be to the humongous task of collecting and disposing the city’s garbage. For instance, it is common to see its huge trucks of overflowing and stinking garbage holding up the traffic on that narrow KK Road at peak hours, when they ought to be clearing up those wayside bins much earlier in the day.