“Grandma, I am here to tell you why you should be separating wet waste from dry waste. Do you know how many problems we are creating by not segregating?” And on it went from the mouth of a really animated Kavya, a 9th standard Doddanekundi Government School student.
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She was one among the 36 boys and girls who wandered around Doddanekundi village (in Bengaluru) on a Saturday morning (January 24th) urging shop keepers and fruit vendors, and all their neighbors to take care of their “Kasa” or garbage, the right way. Waving flyers showing the different categories of waste, the children walked into clinics, wandered down small lanes and chattered away nineteen to the dozen for nearly an hour.
At around 9.30 am, another bunch of kids from a nearby layout got ready to bring home the message on “Swachhta”, in one of the village squares. But this time, these kids were waiting for their cues from a music box! With a voice over narrator, and a background score, each kid pantomimed dirty habits from dumping empty food packets and banana peels on the road, urinating on walls, spitting and so on, that are common sights on the streets of India.
With shopkeepers, residents of surrounding homes, and several passersby watching, this street play progressed with the children showing how one could change such filthy practices, and how one could reform one’s behavior by dumping garbage in dustbins, or by using toilets instead of walls, amongst other things.
Both sets of children managed to engage several adults in their own way that day… but most importantly, I would like to believe that they themselves had begun in earnest to follow a way of life that needs to become the norm, for this nation of ours to become “Swachh”!
As the children were doing their bit, a group of adult volunteers and BBMP Pourakarmikas cleaned out the roads and lanes from the Ram Mandir in the village all the way to the Government School, a distance of nearly a kilometer. A few dustbins were placed in strategic locations along this stretch after the cleanliness drive was concluded.
These events were organised by a group called the Swachh Doddanekundi Initiative (SDI), a group of concerned’ citizens of the Doddanekundi Area of Bengaluru, whose vision is to create and support a ‘clean and green neighborhood’. To sustain this effort, the SDI engages with neighborhood stakeholders and local authorities on a long-term basis. Our objective is to find long-term solutions for waste management, cleaner roads, and surroundings for all our families and the greater community.