June 26, 2011
Cleaning garbage can never be easy. But for many intrepid Amrita students, it is now not a difficult chore either, rather a noble duty that calls the 4th Sunday of every month. The students enthusiastically respond, just as they have, since the Amala Bharatam Campaign began many months ago.
This month, as they set out on cleaning one more neighborhood, one more locality, third-year B.Tech. student of EEE, Roshni Raveendran took the time to write down her experiences, describing the cleanup activities in intricate detail.
One of the many social problems that obstruct the true development of our country is the ineffective waste management and handling in our cities, towns and villages. Today people run helter skelter in search of house-maids. Can they not themselves become involved in cleaning of society? Can they not hear the lament of Mother Nature? We need such people who can become pioneers in the cleaning of our society.
The Amala Bharatam Campaign begun by the Mata Amritananadamayi Math is being undertaken by students and faculty of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham in addition to ashramites.
Though we do the clean-up the fourth Sunday of every month, preparations for it begin a week earlier. We organize ourselves into groups that will perform various tasks – getting the tools and gloves ready for the cleaning, making posters and charts to spread awareness, identifying the exact areas to be cleaned, etc.
It is with a great deal of excitement that the preparation for each clean-up drive is taken up.
Finally on the fourth Sunday, as we set out for the cleaning, we are part of different groups; each group handling a particular spot to be cleaned under the leadership of the spot coordinator.
Once we set to work, we collect and sort the garbage at the same time. Hard plastic and soft plastic is put in separate sacks. Paper waste and other biodegradable waste is also separately collected.
Residents, shop-owners and pedestrians react to our cleaning activities in different ways. Some put up a scowling face. It dawns on many others that a little effort with a sincere attitude can totally change the outlook of their area. Some even come up and join us in cleaning.
As the huge mounds of garbage disappear into various sacks, we heave a sigh of relief. The stinking lanes are now as clean as they can be.
The cleaning activities usually take about 3-4 hours. After that, we return with our hearts full of contentment. Working together in this way for a good cause makes us feel very satisfied.
But the process is not finished yet.
Over the next week, all this collected waste is processed at our recycling center on campus, making sure everything that can be recycled is recycled and everything biodegradable is composted.
We have undertaken many such clean-up drives in Vallikavu, Vavvakavu, Sasthamkotta, Karunagapally and Oachira. Such attempts fulfill our cherished desire to do something for society.
Our dream is that this movement will spread to all parts of the country. In the meantime, with a determined mind and an unshaken will, we will continue to do all it takes to keep our neighborhoods clean …