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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Campaign for less littering, more dustbins in Mumbai

Apoorva Puranik , Hindustan Times  Mumbai, September 16, 2013
First Published: 09:25 IST(16/9/2013) | Last Updated: 09:31 IST(16/9/2013)

Third-year mass media students of Jai Hind college are on a mission to clean up their city. They are working towards identifying spots in the city that have few or no public dustbins, and to spread an anti-littering message.

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As part of ‘Saafasutra,’ the name they have given their campaign, five students have been going around the city, talking to residents about the need for more public dustbins. To promote the campaign, they are also using social media actively, where people can post pictures of areas with few dustbins.

“Through our Facebook page and word-of-mouth, we are getting people to talk about areas they find the most littered, and where they would like some action on part of the BMC. We have received complaints of littered streets and regularly get pictures of garbage lying around on the road owing to a lack of dustbins,” said Jamila Bootwala, one of the campaigners.

The students have found a very innovative way of keeping people from dirtying railway tracks and roads.

If someone is found littering at public spaces, the students hand them a badge they have fashioned, saying ‘No. 1 Litterer’

“It works well. We have handed out the badges to many people on the trains when they throw wrappers or plastic bags out of the window. We smile, give them the badge and congratulate them on making the city dirty,” said Bootwala.

A cardboard frame with ‘saafasutra’ written in glittering green and an illuminated map of the city in hand, this bunch of girls has been going around trains and tourist spots, asking people to take a pledge against littering.

“We mark a spot on the map to indicate the areas we have covered. We hope to cover the entire city and make people responsible in preventing garbage pile-ups,” said Saloni Jain, another campaigner.

The problem, according to the students, is not a complete lack of awareness, but the lax attitude of citizens.

With Ganesh immersions taking place across the city, the streets and beaches are lined with debris. The team of saafasutra will participate in a cleanup drive at Girgaum and Dadar chowpatty on September 19, after the tenth day of immersions.


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