Cleaner and Greener Tomorrow

Alor Disha, a community-based organization,in Kolkata, organized a week-long cleanliness drive for a “Cleaner and Greener Tomorrow” that was launched on World Environment on June 5 at Ukhila and Stadium Para.

Planning the initiative

Everything possible from posters and placards to Nukkud Nataks was used to galvanize the people for the cleanliness drive. The community responded in many ways from identifying appropriate spots for placing garbage pits, pinpointing areas that required greater attention to contributing Rs.10 each for buying four bins.

In addition, the residents of these clusters worked along with members of local clubs in sweeping and cleaning the lanes and roads, removing the plastic and debris that was strewn everywhere and the unwanted shrubs and wild vegetation. Special attention was given to the cleaning of clogged drains in view of the approaching monsoon.

On the morning of the launch, the groups collected in Stadium Para and did a Nukkad Natak to enthuse the community. The high point of the event was a rally which brought together all the people and their involvement and support for the cause was evident in the kind of slogans they raised. These included: “This settlement belongs to all of us and keeping it clean is also our joint responsibility” and “Planting trees will help us to breathe clean and pollution free air.” The event culminated in the installing of garbage bins in four junctions of the two clusters and the planting of saplings.

 

 

Impact

This initiative, as many of the residents pointed out, has succeeded in altering ingrained attitudes and mind-sets:

Tuhina Sardar, member of ALF (Area Level Federation under National Urban Livelihood Mission) said, “I used to keep my house clean but that did not stop me from throwing garbage in the space in front of our neighbor’s house. But now I have realized the importance of keeping our surroundings clean.”

Jahanara Gazi, Alor Disha member, said, “I realize that it is our duty to keep our surroundings clean and motivate others to do the same.”

Selina Sanfui, another resident opined; “ULB alone cannot carry out the task of keeping the settlement clean. As citizens we must contribute towards this end.”

Rehena Khatun, Alor Disha youth member, encouraged the people by assuring them that, “we are with you in the collective effort you are making.”

Rupa Bibi, a resident from the adjacent area, was so inspired by the initiative that she has decided to conduct the same initiative in her settlement  

Clearly, communities have the power to change. What is needed is motivation, leadership and the realization that change is possible even with available resources. Alor Disha members have successfully channelized the energy of their members and the larger community through their untiring effort and commitment.