Cleaner Country drive#1 [things we learnt]

Hammer & Mop (awesomeness in cleaning) initiated Cleaner Country Drive#1. We were at Juhu Beach, Mumbai on 15th May 2011- a Sunday. It was needed to get under the common man’s skin and thus truly understand the magnitude of the problem we’re facing.

We cleaned. But did it matter?

We got down to the cleaning jobs as soon as we arrived. Dirt and garbage (organic and plastic) was stuffed in huge garbage bags by our gloved hands and placed in the form of dustbins in front of the food stores. People were curious, some inquired about our intentions, some helped while some simply stared. However, the area takes no time to get dirty again. So did our clean-up act really matter?

We talked to vendors. Their take?

They refuse to take responsibility and blame others. And it is understandable. For them- managing dustbins is a task that is not supported willingly by all the store owners in the area. Everyone has their own dustbin but customers often don’t really care to dispose off the waste in a proper way. They might cooperate if its made easier for them. Adding up to their problems, priorities and responsibilities will not yield results.

Customers. Garbage. Mentality.

We all know who the real culprits are. It is not possible to preach people who are out holidaying on the beach. Street plays don’t make the desired impact. Well- what does?

The Upper Level

We need to think of the bigger picture and handle the matter from the upper level. Rather than the act of ‘generating awareness’, we should realize that the tried and tested methods have failed. We have a huge percentage of population that is not on the internet, that does not read newspapers and magazines are a long way off too. How do we reach them?

We talk to authorities and rather than just highlighting the problem, we offer to take things in our own hands and provide solutions. We empower the food stalls and hawkers with their special kits that encourages them to feel good. Quality equipment and Recognition takes people to a different level altogether. With attractive and numerous dustbins around, people will have no need to be careless with regards to waste disposal.

People are not passionate about littering. Just that- they don’t deem it necessary to go out of the way to use dustbins. If the solution is spoon-fed, it will be lapped up enthusiastically. The entertainment sector has a lot to benefit from these actions too. Special Shows can be held by television actors that boosts their ratings and ends up giving us cleaner beaches and cleaner streets. Music bands can perform and earn brownie points while delivering desirable cleaner surroundings. I need not even say that this is a highly profitable CSR and a political platform. We want a Cleaner Country, don’t we? By whatever means.


[this post was first published on Hammer & Mop blog]


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