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Updated: February 15, 2014 09:40 IST

Tourist wants God’s Own Country clean

Mohamed Nazeer
Comment (9)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
Ann-Kristin Hahne collects waste from the Payyambalam beach. Photo: S.K. Mohan
The Hindu
Ann-Kristin Hahne collects waste from the Payyambalam beach. Photo: S.K. Mohan

This teacher from Sweden staying on a three-month vacation evokes curiosity among people living in the neighbourhood of the Payyambalam beach in Kannur as she volunteers every morning to collect the litter left behind by people who visited the beach previous evening and put them in a pit to keep the beach garbage-free.

Ann-Kristin Hahne, a schoolteacher from Kiruna located 1,200 km north of Stockholm, is serving as a teacher of a different kind while she is holidaying here.

What she teaches the local people through her voluntary cleanliness drive on the beach is the message of keeping the beach and the surroundings clean and tidy.

Staying in a house facing the beach, she picks the litter strewn around in the main portion of the beach. She does the job using a litter-picker and a waste bin.

“Kerala is known as God’s own country and such a place should not be dirty,” she told The Hindu when asked about her voluntary cleaning work every morning during her stay here.

Describing the Payyambalam beach as one of the wonderful beaches in the State, she said that every day it is found littered with throwaway waste.

‘No waste bin’

Her only complaint is that there is no waste bin on the beach. “I would be very happy if the people here are proud of the beauty of the place,” she noted. She stressed the importance of creating awareness among children of keeping public places clean.

Ms. Hahne, 68, has been here since November 21 last year and will be leaving for Sweden on February 22.

This is not her first visit to India, she said adding that she invariably travels abroad in December-January period every year when the sun does not rise in Kiruna as it is located 145 km north of Arctic Circle and has a Sub-Arctic climate with short summers and long winters.

More In: Kerala | National

Kerala may have high literacy rate but Keralites are not literate enough
to understand the importance of waste management!

from:  George Sebastian
Posted on: Feb 17, 2014 at 22:10 IST

Happy to see, a tourist far from this place,giving eye opening message to the locals like me " don't throw waste on this beautiful land and a strong message to the local government to provide at least provide some waste bin around good tourist place like Payyambalam,and finally hats off Miss Ann

from:  sudhakaran.k
Posted on: Feb 17, 2014 at 13:17 IST

Now-a- days Visitors are smarter. They want to get attention in media and social network targeting 2 points – they are very clean and tidy people. Host country men are dirty fellows. 2) They do get paper cutting and show to their friends that they got media cover with the expense of 2 peni litter-picker and waste bin!
Of course we should keep our surrounding clean, no doubt. But this kind of cheap publicity cannot give a chance to blame our all society.
Let this tourist to engage having tour in other states and pause in front of media before commenting anything against God’s Own Country. Of course, Kerala is having some issues in waste management, but it doesn’t mean that every place in Kerala is dirty and tidy.
On the same time, concerned local authority and social clubs in their locality should have a fund to install/erect Litter Bin in every congested area to have a warm welcome to our respected tourists. Beautifying is not only to target tourists from abroad but to attract our neighbor states and north Indians also.

from:  Aslam Patla
Posted on: Feb 17, 2014 at 10:50 IST

This problem is aggravated by the large number of migrant workers who have a different
attitude towards a host state that has no sentiments for them. That applies also to the public
facilities used by these migrants and transit workers.

from:  Vivek
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 20:24 IST

The whole country will be clean if each one of us is ready to clean
our neighborhood. A foreigner is cleaning our place!!! Then still
why are most of us hesitating?? Its a shame that we are in such a
pathetic condition!!

from:  Venkitakrishnan.V
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 19:27 IST

God's Own Country has become Devil's Own Country because of the neglect
by the successive state governments in implementing modern waste
disposal system. The state also does not make use of the central funds
for installing sewage pipes unlike other states.

The Kerala Tourism Department, runs by inexperienced bureaucrats in
customer service and tourism, also deserves blames for not beautifying
the tourist destinations, despite spending million of rupees for
tourism promotions.

They and the concerned ministers are interested only in enjoying visits
to various foreign countries and other Indian cities in the name of
"tourism promotions," which do not attract many tourists to the state
as the authorities envisioned.

from:  George
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 10:33 IST

Its not only Kerala, I think the whole country needs waste bins. That is an important
step towards clean environment. As second most populated country in the world it is
a shame that we don't have enough waste bins or waste management in most cities
and towns which naturally leaves people with no option but dumping waste in the
open. Its high time local, state and central governments give this issue due
importance and save the environment for future generations.

from:  Joe Pillai
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 16:59 IST

I remember being delighted when I returned to my parents' native places in Kerala - especially noticing that the place was much better in many development parameters compared to other parts of India - where I was born, brought up and now work. People were in general warm, welcoming and the level of awareness seemed more than in other parts of India.

That having been said, I soon realised, especially when using public facilities including buses, roads, bathrooms,... that Kerala might be God's own country, but it has a long way to become a heaven. No wonder, people end up going to other places to look for jobs even today (as my parents had to do more than half a century ago). One desperately hopes that the state and the people show the way to the rest of country (as they have done in many areas in the past) by taking the lead to bring in some first world values such as cleanliness (especially littering), standing in queue, following public rules, traffic rules, ...

from:  S Sundar Kumar Iyer
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 12:16 IST

Hats off to Ann Kristin Hahne ji

from:  Mani
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 10:39 IST
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