February 28, 2011
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Coimbatore
Amala Bharatam activities continue in full swing. Currently Chancellor Amma is on her annual North Indian tour. In every city that Amma visits, she speaks about the importance of keeping the country clean. Amala Bharatam is inaugurated in city after Indian city.
In Mysore and Bangalore, students from Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham as well as Amrita Vidyalayam helped clean alongside other volunteers at Amma’s programs, assiduously sorting trash into several different categories to facilitate ease in recycling.
“It is very inspiring to see how much people want to help,” shared Malathy Sanborn, who helps man the Amala Bharatam booth set up at all Amma’s programs. “Especially students and youngsters keep asking us for practical solutions they can implement.”
“I sometimes give them the example of Estonia, wherein 50,000 participants came together to clean up 10,000 tons of garbage, on a country-wide clean-up mission. I tell them that just like Amma is saying, they can come together and implement something similar on a smaller scale in their communities, if only they try.”
Meanwhile, the momentum continues at the Amrita campuses, originally the focal point of the public cleaning campaign.
On the fourth Sunday in February, massive cleaning drives were again undertaken by those at the Amritapuri and Kochi campuses.
At Amritapuri, from 4:00 pm till sunset, many areas of the Parayakadavu and Srayikkadu wards were cleaned.
What was unique this time was the fact that many villagers, residents of these wards, donned gloves and vests to clean alongside Amrita students.
Priya Malini, who lives in Parayakadavu, shared her feelings.
“Earlier we were not aware of the bad effects of littering,” she said. “Now we feel that to keep the environment clean is within reach for all of us and not like climbing Mount Everest. We are confident that we can take this wonderful initiative forward.”
“It is so satisfying to see that our engagement is making a difference in the areas we have cleaned,” stated Devika, second-year student of Master of Social Work.
Amrita’s Social Work Department has begun working in collaboration with the local Panchayat and volunteers to implement a sustainable waste management plan to ensure long-term, local participation.
In Kochi, students of the Health Sciences campus cleaned the campus premises. They were joined by staff members, doctors and ashramites who were ready to begin the cleaning as early as 7:00 am. Every team swiftly cleaned their assigned areas, concentrating on the seva they could offer.
Though the campus premises are maintained very clean, the heavy downpour of the previous night had spread a large amount of leaves and other green litter all over campus.
This was swiftly collected and transferred to the composting area.
“There wasn’t much plastic waste to be found, but we found some on the roadsides adjacent to the campus premises,” stated one participating student.
The cleanup drive continued till 11:00 am.