Gagan Nandi, a 24-year old, kickstarted a cleanliness drive which has turned Basavanagudi from a garbage dump to an area with neat and clean corners. Know more about this amazing cleanliness drive.
Every morning, as Gagan Nandi left for work, he would see the same sight — people throwing garbage on the roadside — making the locality more of a dumping ground than a place to live.
Highly inspired by PM Modi’s Swachha Bharat Abhiyaan, this 24-year old HR professional then decided to take matters into his own hands and started a cleanliness drive in his locality.
He didn’t even think twice before starting a Facebook group “Swachha Basavanagudi,” to initiate the cleanliness drive from his own backyard.
“Ever since the launch of the Swachha Bharat Mission, I have been wanting to bring back the glory of our ‘Garden City’. After seeing the heaps of garbage growing larger every day, I thought, why wait for someone else to take the initiative?” asks Nandi.
A few like-minded people joined him in his mission and they came up with the project “6 wards, 6 weeks”, where the team of good samaritans would clean up one area in each ward of Basavanagudi every Sunday.
The idea picked up and a few college students and volunteers joined hands with him, giving him more confidence to execute his cleanliness mission successfully. But the team needed funds to give shape to their ideas and, again, the cleanliness enthusiasts pitched in money from their own pockets to support the mission.
“A few college students pitched in their pocket money while some residents contributed from their salaries. We also picked up some paint to make the area look clean and new,” says Nandi.
Started on April 26 this year, the Swachha Basavanagudi group now has over 260 members on Facebook and the team even has its own website where members publish updates about their work.
Although the team was fuelled by determination and passion, bringing about change was not an easy task. The first effort was not very successful. The team, along with volunteers from ‘Know your Star’, cleaned, washed and painted the dumping yard at Vidyapeetha circle. It took them five hours. But just two hours later, the place was filled with garbage again.
This did not deter them however, as they continued their work next Sunday at Hanumantha Nagar. This time they saw a great response from the local community. Many nearby shopkeepers, passersby and residents joined them and helped clean the area in no time.
Nandi and his team now had a successful start to their ambitious project. But even as they cleared the dumping grounds, they found that the residents who were using the spots to dump their trash had no other option but to discard their waste there again. The municipal corporation had not picked up the garbage from their homes for two days and the residents did not know what else to do.
Yet again, the volunteers took matters into their own hands and called up the health inspector of the area to resolve the issue. The volunteers also travelled to the locality every couple of days to ensure that garbage didn’t start piling up again by the roadside.
Nandi and his group now plan to get in touch with the municipal corporation, BBMP, to get better waste segregation vehicles in the city. They also want to install low-cost, portable urinals across Bangalore.
“We have received tremendous support from residents and volunteers. Now health inspectors are also calling up to spread awareness. This is just the start and a lot more needs to be done,” says Nandi.
The team’s cleanliness drive has garnered great attention and Grammy award winner Ricky Kej has also shown interest in being part of their drive. Nandi is a perfect example of how one determined person can bring about change at large. Kudos to the team’s efforts and we hope to see many such initiatives in cities across India.