Downtown

Residents of Nawab Gardens have a cleanliness strategy for seven streets

Residents started by cleaning a street every Sunday. Now, they are actively campaigning for source segregation. Photos: M. Karunakaran   | Photo Credit: M_Karunakaran

Nawab Gardens may be a posh neighbourhood, but it battles many civic issues. To name a few, overflowing garbage and street corners being used as open urinals. A small group of residents from Kotturpuram are doing something about this situation.

Nawab Gardens Residents Welfare Association, which covers seven streets of Kotturpuram, has been sustaining a clean-up initiative for many months now. Except for a few breaks during the floods, residents have been cleaning up the neighbourhood regularly.

“When we walked with leaflets in our hand, the watchmen would look at us suspiciously,” says Meenakshi Ramesh, who along with few neighbours launched the campaign to keep the streets clean and promote environment-friendly practices. The idea of forming an association came later as residents wanted to voice their grievances through a forum.

Around 12 people attended the first meeting. The strength has been steadily increasing by word-of-mouth and through its Facebook page (https://m.facebook.com/CleanKotturpuramCampaign) and WhatsApp group. To get children involved, residents conducted a contest, which was about designing a logo. One of the logos has been chosen as the Association’s emblem.

Two volunteers are responsible for each street.

Every Sunday, residents pick a street corner where they spruce up the place for close to an hour.

“We make sure the conservancy staff and a Ramky’s supervisor also join us,” says Suma Jacob, a resident of Arunachalam Road.

Ensuring good participation is a challenge.

“We have had days when only four members would participate, but we have sustained the initiative,” says Meenakshi, secretary of the Association.

Residents next dealt with the problem of the place being littered with plastic cups thrown away by mobile tea vendors.

“We designed low-cost bins made of recyclable plastic buckets, pasted our logo and tied them to trees on every street,” says Chandra Prabhakar, a resident of Ambadi Road. A few bins got washed away in the floods but residents promise to have them back.

Residents painted graffiti at spots which were often used as open urinals.

Residents have also made headway with regard to segregation of waste and now want the Corporation to build a compost pit.

“In my apartment which has 11 flats, we have the khamba pots where wet waste is turned into compost,” says Subhashini Raja, a resident of Ranjit Road and joint secretary of the Association.

“As we have a lot of biodegradable waste from tree leaves, we want the Corporation to allocate a space for composting it.”

Though it is been a year since the Association started these green initiatives, members say, they are still working towards involving more residents of the area.


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Printable version | Jun 11, 2021 12:27:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/downtown/Residents-of-Nawab-Gardens-have-a-cleanliness-strategy-for-seven-streets/article14001618.ece

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