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Garbage and more… Literally.

“Thud!” Plastic bag breaking after hitting the ground, my parents heard this sound as soon as they entered home at about 10pm. It came from outside. So they went out to see immediately.

It turned out to be a 23-year-old throwing his garbage (bio and everything else) from 1st floor of his home on to the street!

Now seeing this is annoying enough on day-to-day basis. Where do you start? And when do you stop?

Now, the back story –

Last 3 days my dad spend most of his day standing and getting the street cleaned along with the help of BBMP (An administrative body for civic and infrastructural assets of Bangalore). Why? Because in our neighborhood, for some idiotic reason, it’s okay to throw your garbage on one side of the moving street, or throwing it from your 1st floor balcony because who needs to walk one floor of stairs and keep it in your own compound. Now, we have garbage collection every morning between 7-8 am. You just need to keep your garbage in separate bags and outside your gate. It’s as simple as that. But somehow, the pleasure of throwing it on the street is unmatched to the orderly collection.

This is how it looked with everyday mess (This is after a few hours, after it’s been collected on weekly basis, apart from the house-to-house daily collection of garbage) –

Before

This not only causes irritation, but more importantly, it’s not healthy! In any form. Since years, we have been trying to talk to people in the neighborhood and it all comes down to, let the others stop, we shall stop too then. What logic is this?

Then, finally, an idea struck – what will keep people away from messing up a place? The only thing that comes above all and is considered so important that they might actually stop littering the neighborhood? We are in India and answer is pretty clear – Gods. Literally in this case. I think this was inspired from a film, but don’t really remember which one.

My dad thought of getting this cleaned and put up God photos and frames, in the hope that it works.

So coming back to present, he spent 3 days getting this done to the level it’s livable along with the help of BBMP. And then comes in the improvements. And here are some pictures of the process:

Getting it cleaned first

Notice the frames with God photos? That’s to keep some people away while the work is happening, because apparently seeing that cleaning is going on, is not enough.

Process continues…
Let’s continue…
Such things need to be reminded explicitly…
Night view after 3 days of work…
Finally, the first version of how it should look. Heading in the right direction…

When you would hear a sound that is similar to throwing trash from above, how would you react after all this work?

And the answer from that 23-year-old young (so-called educated) person was – “Well, I’m used to it and didn’t know this work was done or had been going on”. Are you kidding me?!

I heard this over the phone and I questioned the sanity or rather the sensibility of some people! Some neighbors came around too this time and gave their piece of mind to this young lad!

He was then asked to come down and clean the garbage from the street. And he did. I’m sure he’ll think twice before littering the street again.

Later my dad went around collecting signatures and talking to more people in the neighborhood. A lot of them were obviously relieved too, with this action.

Not all are like this of course and I’m in no way generalizing all people living there, neither am I being anti-Indian (like some of you might email me about), rather just pointing out, small things that can be changed. And if you see something wrong happening, take a step towards change. It might be really difficult (months or years even) but we need to be the change we want to see in the world. Rightly preached by Mahatma Gandhi, in this case.

I’m going home in a couple of days and I hope, really hope, that people use their gifted brains some more from now on!

I’m dedicating this blog post to my dad, my inspiration, and my teacher who taught me to find my way against all odds.

And to each of you out there, in every part of the world, who take a step towards a change and make a difference in the society. Hearty respect for each one of you.

Do share your stories in comments/email and you’re most welcome to give more ideas on solving issues like this 🙂

Keep smiling and stay strong! 🙂

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