Green initiative for a litter free environment
As part of the Recycle for Life project, with Municipal Solid Waste Management and Source Segregation being the prime objectives, auxiliary activities have also taken centre stage in many projects run by Hand in Hand India. The Cantonment area in Chennai is one such project.
Albeit, collection and processing of wastes are performed routinely, public littering in crowded places still persists in many spots within the Cantonment area. Such spots act as exponents of the behavioural pattern of the community and will be the agents that foster such practices incessantly and repress the concept of municipal solid waste management and a sustainable environment.
To overcome this basic, nevertheless influential issue, Hand in Hand India team identified a litter spot in Defence Colony, St. Thomas Mount. The littered spot is located near St. Thomas Hospital, a heavily crowded location surrounded by households and shops. Every day, Green Friends had been collecting around 50 kg of accumulated waste from the located spot in the past. To get rid of this issue, Hand in Hand India came up with an ingenious idea. With the help of Green Friends, the litter spot was cleaned abruptly and a sapling was planted by the ward councillor Ms Jayanthi Mala, with a sign board “DO NOT LITTER”.
With the councillor aboard, Hand in Hand India team together with some volunteers approached the nearby households and shops to identify the reasons for littering in the mentioned spotand the issues were duly addressed. To uphold this initiative, a supervisor from the project was deputed for a week for follow-up and to inculcate the habit of source segregation among residents and to not turn regressive in maintaining the spot litter free. Since then, the spot remains free of litter and to state the fact that the residents now are nurturing the sapling remains the most impressive achievement.
Since this initiative, around 15 such places were identified within the Cantonment area and saplings were planted to eradicate the practice of public littering in the area, with the active participation of the community. Now, all those spots, which were once the hotpots of garbage menace have become exemplary for a clean and green space. Thus, one small initiative, with some persuasion, has brought the community together to move towards a greener environment.