A mega mass cleaning campaign (‘Thoonga Madurayai Thooymaiyaga Vaippom') began in the city and suburbs on Tuesday.

Collector C. Kamaraj flagged off the work in Tirumangalam while a team of officials led by Corporation Commissioner S. Sebastine and Mayor G. Thenmozhi began the campaign in B.B. Kulam in the city.

Speaking to reporters, Mr. Kamaraj said that the campaign was just a beginning to spread the message to keep the surroundings clean and green. Madurai being a Temple City, tourists would also have a good impression of the city, he said and appealed to the residents and hoteliers to cooperate by using dust bins to dispose waste and garbage. With the use of four JCB machines, 2,000 conservancy workers and supervisory officers were engaged in the campaign which would go on for the next three days.

Mr. Sebastine said that the Corporation lifted 400 tonnes of garbage every day from different wards in the city. Since May last year, the Corporation authorities had been imposing fines on people who dumped garbage in public places instead of using the bins.

So far, the Corporation had collected Rs 6.35 lakh as spot fine, which varied from Rs. 500 to Rs. 5,000. Whether it was a residential building or a commercial establishment, the violators were initially educated and subsequently penalised. Despite warnings, if they ignore the advice and continue to dump garbage anywhere they wished, they were slapped fines, he said.

Replying to another query, Mr. Kamaraj said that the officials would shortly hold talks with hoteliers in this connection and also said that use of banned plastic would not be permitted anywhere in the district.

Apart from Corporation officials, members from the service organisations had been roped in to participate in the campaign.