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Jayasree Kiran : Batting for hygiene

Jayasree Kiran (below) Photos: Special arrangement, ISTOCK PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

Jayasree Kiran (below) Photos: Special arrangement, ISTOCK PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES  

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She is leading a campaign to ensure better hygiene among garbage collectors in Hyderabad

This was just meant to be another medical leave for the college lecturer Jayasree Kiran. The break got her to observe surroundings with care. A pattern had emerged, she noticed the long absence of the regular garbage collector in her area. He was replaced due to ill health by his wife. At the same time, Jayasree got acquainted with an online petitioner who noticed the disappearance of garbage collectors across dumping yards over a few weeks. She started delving deeper into the root cause, most garbage collectors gave up their professions by late 40s and were suffering from air borne diseases, TB and conjunctivitis. Not many understand the hazards of their profession and the minimum hygiene standards they needed. Jayasree and her oncologist husband Dr Kiran Kumar and an NGO Seva Bharathi (founded by Narasimha Murthy) decided to take things in their own hands to solve the problem.

“The root cause for most of this was the lack of knowledge in separating dry garbage from wet garbage. A lot of their problems stem from bio-hazardous waste like needles, broken glassware, discarded wood, screws, batteries,” says Jayasree. A regular medical camp for the garbage collectors across the Patancheru and Deepthi Shree Nagar areas gave her the cue to take enough preventive measures to avoid such a situation. The help from GHMC commissioner Harichandana (West zone) was also helpful, she adds.

Jayasree Kiran : Batting for hygiene

While the garbage collectors were given tetanus, hepatitis B injections, she began conducting awareness camps across the city on basic care they had to take. The importance of maintaining one’s hair, nails, the usage of masks were stressed upon.

“Wet garbage generates pathogenic bacteria but it can be handled. Government needs to pass strict rules about the handling of bio-hazardous waste, that’ll make a big difference to their lives.”

Her work commenced with the West zone of the city that witnessed a 200-member turnout, she plans to host similar awareness and medical camps in other zones in Hyderabad. “I didn’t want this to be a one-time affair, the camps are hosted on a monthly basis.” She went ahead to make a documentary with her student Kranthi Teja Revuri to generate more awareness about bio-hazardous waste. The campaign struck a chord with many social groups — Sparsh Hospice and Tata group joined.

The plan isn’t about camps alone, she has received support from KTR in her proposal on the need of building medicinal plants (like neem) around dumping yards. The soil of the garbage can be used as a fertilizer, they are nutrient rich for cultivating plants, she says. Jayasree has helped build water tanks around the dumping yards for garbage collectors to ensure their cleanliness.

“Many have complained about having dumping yards near their place and the stink it causes, yet no one bothers about the garbage collectors. Basic hygiene is the need of the hour, it can alleviate one from many infections. I look forward to support from hospitals closer to the dumping yards.” (Readers can reach out to her at jayasreekiran@yahoo.co.in)

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Printable version | Jun 23, 2018 10:29:49 AM | http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/jayasree-kiran-batting-for-hygiene/article24152063.ece