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Updated: September 10, 2013 12:32 IST
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Clean Chennai inspires kolu theme

Susanna Myrtle Lazarus
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Banumathi S. makes a themed kolu every year. This year, she is using The Hindu’s Clean Chennai campaign for reference. Photo: S. S. Kumar
The Hindu
Banumathi S. makes a themed kolu every year. This year, she is using The Hindu’s Clean Chennai campaign for reference. Photo: S. S. Kumar

Banumathi S., a 72-year-old resident of Kodambakkam plans to create awareness on waste management through her kolu

As enthusiastic participants hurled questions at the experts at the CleanChennai@Home workshop in Nungambakkam on Sunday, a septuagenarian sat on the sidelines, waiting her turn. Clad in an orange sari, she shyly took the microphone and began to speak.

“Every Navaratri, my kolu is based on an issue that plagues Chennai. This year, The Hindu’s Clean Chennai campaign is the theme,” she said, as the audience broke into applause.

Banumathi S. is a former education consultant who is passionate about kolu. The 72-year-old mother of three begins preparing for the following year’s kolu as soon as Navaratri ends. To this end, she has been collecting clippings of every story on garbage carried in The Hindu for almost a year now.

“I had already planned to make a waste management-themed kolu. When the My Chennai My Right campaign was launched, it gave me more ideas to add – I’m making a miniature composter as well,” Mrs. Banumathi said, speaking to The Hindu after the workshop.

She also said that the campaign had prompted her to begin composting again. “When we were in an independent house, we had a compost pit in the garden. After moving to an apartment, I did not continue the practice. Now I have started using a composter. Since it is just my son and me in the house, we keep our inorganic waste generation to a minimum,” she said.

A resident of Kodambakkam, Mrs. Banumathi said that many who come to see the kolu in her house ask her about the issue she portrays and how to tackle it. “It is my way of creating awareness in the community,” she said.

Mrs. Banumathi has been creating themed kolus for over a decade now: earlier themes include solar power and window gardens. However, she is quite proprietary about her kolu. “I’m already wondering if it was good idea to tell people that this is my theme.

I have decided what I am going to display, and several of the exhibits are ready, but I don’t want to share it all in case someone decides to copy it. I want mine to be unique,” she said.

Pdfs of presentations made at Clean Chennai @ Home workshops in Adyar (Sep 7) and Nungambakkam (Sep 8)

Composting by Navneeth Raghavan

Garbage segregation by Navneeth Raghavan

Managing garbage effectively by Srinivas Krishnaswamy & Preethi Sukumaran

Here is a quick guide to start composting and recycling:

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More In: Chennai | News

Inspired by the Clean Chennai Campaign of the Hindu this resourceful lady's idea of creating a waste-management theme kolu is not just imaginative but ingenious. The need of the hour is to generate awareness among people that waste is not trash but a resource and by processing it a whole new realm in the form of recycled materials, renewable fuel and clean energy from landfill gas plants and waste to energy are opened.

from:  vyjayanthi
Posted on: Sep 10, 2013 at 08:09 IST

May God give more power to Srimathi Banumathi to carry on her good work! Here are a few humble suggestions for her consideration for the Kolu themes of coming years: [1] Highlight the importance of quality control and quality assurance in every thing we do as the proverb in Tamizh says "seivana thirundach chei" -- in present day India, this would include governance also; [2] all of us should strive to inculcate within us, a scientific temper; [3] importance of self reliance in technology and all industrial activities for our country; [4] dispel myths about nuclear radiation and highlight the importance and benefits of electricity generation through use of indigenous nuclear reactors.

from:  Udhishtir
Posted on: Sep 10, 2013 at 06:53 IST

Very nice concept. Wishing her the very best.

from:  Ashwin Seshadri
Posted on: Sep 10, 2013 at 06:17 IST
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