On Saturday, south Delhi’s Bhikaji Cama Place looked cleaner than it ever has been — all thanks to a YouTube video. The usually-busy commercial complex woke up to an unusual cleaning campaign, as more than 900 volunteers gathered early in the morning, with gloves and garbage bags in hand.
The campaign was organised as part of an initiative —‘Let’s do it Delhi’ — to clean up the city before Commonwealth Games in October this year.
Started by a group of professionals, students and activists, the initiative was joined in by employees of many corporate houses.
“The idea first came to us while watching a video on YouTube about Estonia, where more than 50,000 citizens cleaned up the city in a single day,” said Anita Bhargava, the brain behind the campaign.
Corporate houses that pitched in on Saturday included ICICI bank, Hyatt Hotels, Jindal Steel, Punjab National Bank, Abir Infrastructure, Radisson Hotels, Nimbus Harbor and FabIndia.
In three hours, volunteers spruced up the sprawling commercial complex. Bhargava said more than 4,000 garbage bags were used to remove litter and garbage from the site.
“Each of the 900 volunteers carried at least two garbage bags and we cleared about 5-6 tonnes of garbage,” she said.
The group had carried out a similar cleaning campaign at Rose Park (near IIT Delhi) earlier this year.
Bhikaji Cama Place was their second project and next on the agenda is cleaning up one municipal ward (most likely South Extension), one New Delhi Municipal Council circle and one slum. “This is our second attempt at creating a model of cleanliness which all Delhiites can follow and clean up areas where they live,” said Prableen Sabhaney, who works for Fabindia. “If Estonia can do it, why can’t Delhi?”
Sabhaney said instead of blaming the government and civic bodies, Delhiites should themselves try to keep their city clean. “We also need to change the way we are,” she said.
A series of street plays were also enacted at the Complex
to educate and inspire office-goers and shopowners to keep the area clean.