Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Garbage: Seeking co-operation from citizens

GARBAGE AND air are similar. Air rushes to any space that is a partial vacuum. Garbage gets attracted and thrown into any vacant public road space. People, generally, do not have an inborn civic sense. Residents throw garbage everywhere indiscriminately. Even parks are not spared from littering. They can not be taught cleanliness or the need to keep the environment garbage-free. But how to tackle this menace?

Secunderabad (compared to its twin city, Hyderabad) once used to be clean and green. No more. Sprawling multi-storied buildings, inadequate infrastructure, (be it roads, drains, water supply or parks), corrupt officials who can not extract work from garbage contractors, ever increasing population of men and vehicles, commercialisation of private residences etc have all added to the cantonment area becoming highly polluted with heaps of garbage everywhere, overflowing drains, unlifted carcasses, noise and air pollution. The quality of life has taken a severe beating in more ways than one.

Though one may be tempted to brush aside these problems as a global phenomenon in any growing city, much of it is directly due to inefficient municipal administration and citizens’ non-co-operation.

What can be done to improve citizen participation to mitigate these problems? If we just stick to one issue -- garbage clearance -- a few ideas crop up. Municipal authorities must be constantly nagged to do their bit. A few dedicated members of Resident Welfare Associations in that area must take up the responsibility of follow up via phone, SMS and in person. Awareness of civic sense must be instilled or created. Meetings, notices, face-to-face/one-to-one pep talks might help. As a part of Resident Welfare Association’s activities circulars are issued giving Dos and Don'ts.


During periods of dacoities in an area, residents come together to form groups for night patrol and vigil. Similarly, small teams of two or three dedicated individuals must keep a vigil over public places and catch persons throwing garbage in un-assigned areas. If the municipal or the police authorities empower such volunteers to collect fines and issue receipts, things might be a bit easier. The fine may go to the Resident Welfare Association.

I once inspected the contents of a plastic bag of household garbage thrown at a place where there was a specific sign board ‘NOT TO THROW GARBAGE’. I found a courier bill in the bag. I could locate the culprit's address and took the bag straight to that house and threw it back into the compound of that house. Well, we may not be able to do it everyday. Sometimes we train young boys to ask adults about polluting the open space -- this creates a sense of shame sometimes. We also spread the names of persons who regularly misbehave during gossip sessions.

If you have any worthwhile ideas to make people sensible and co-operative please share with us.

By Vyasamoorthy

Source: http://www.merinews.com/catFull.jsp?articleID=149154


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

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