Making Swachh Delhi a reality: Cleaning the city, one spot at a time

  • Etti Bali, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 12, 2016 18:28 IST
Volunteers from We Mean to Clean have taken it upon themselves to clean spaces that are ignored by civic bodies.

They say charity begins at home, and some cleanliness warriors in the city are only proving them right. We Mean to Clean is a group of volunteers who are creating awareness on the hazards of single-use plastic bags. For their drive, titled War on Plastic, they are helping people shopping for groceries understand the ill-effects of such bags. And they welcome volunteers to join them on their drives.

Volunteers cleaning and painting the walls in Connaught Place.

“In Delhi, people buy separate bags for every vegetable, even for green chillies and garlic. We advise people to carry fabric (cotton or jute) bags or just one big plastic bag for most groceries,” says Manish Khurana, co-founder.

With this weekly drive, they also plan to map the effect on people’s plastic usage habits. “We have got a positive response and many people, including vendors, have promised to cut their plastic usage,” he says. Plastic harms us in more ways than one. Khurana explains, “A cow consumes around 30-40 kg of plastic in her lifetime…imagine the quality of milk we are consuming. It also causes visual pollution and is a sore sight.”

Read: With no grazing space, cows left to feed on plastic, medical waste

The group came together in 2014, as “there are no effective means of waste management, and it had to start somewhere,” he adds. The group has 25 regular members consisting of college students and professionals. Garima Gulati Bhutani, an HR Manager, says, “Everyone talks about cleanliness, but when it comes down to actually doing it, only a few come forward.”

Painting walls, clearing garbage and creating awareness are some of the highlights of the drives.

Another member, Prashant Kumar, who is a final year B.Tech student, feels that the best part about these drives is interacting with people. “It’s heartening to see people understand and implement what we are trying to say,” he says.

The group has also painted paan-stained walls of Connaught Place and disposed of garbage at various markets. In the process, they also leave beautiful graffiti messages on walls, metro pillars and flyovers about how cleanliness is everyone’s responsibility.

Read: Plastic pollution is killing wildlife in South Delhi

What: War on Plastic
When: August 13
Where: Dabri Mor Market, Uttam Nagar
Timing: 10am
Nearest Metro Station: Uttam Nagar East on Blue Line

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