Scrubbing the campus clean

Campus clean-up organised by the Scrub Society of Madras Christian College.  

The Scrub Society of Madras Christian College (MCC) had a mass clean up of the campus recently with 470 students participating. The botanical garden at MCC campus plays an important role in the spiritual, emotional and intellectual development of the members of MCC community. The Scrub Society of the college strives for the development, preservation and protection of this botanical garden for future generations. Its flora and fauna have been drastically decreasing over the recent years and a major contributor is the increasing amount of non-biodegradable waste.

Dangers of waste

Yesterday I saw a deer gobbling up polythene covers full of sambaar and rasam near the canteen. It did not even spit out the cover after drinking the liquid. The deer cannot differentiate between food and plastic. The number of problems the deer could face because of this is scary. Most importantly gastro intestinal problems, increase of toxins in the blood stream leading to nervous problems and if it becomes a habit it could affect reproduction too. This was a sad sight; it needs change and a quick one at that. Scrub Society's clean up was part of the ‘Scrubie Campaign' which includes spreading awareness, regular cleaning activities and taking a survey of the waste system in the campus.

As part of the campaign, a street play was performed by a few first year students in front of the two college canteens. Stephen went around the area shouting “yaaravadhu kekereengala?” (is anybody listening?). Though many thought he was mad, they soon realised what was happening and cleared way. When one performer said “there's a bin right there and wrappers thrown in front of it” we all felt guilty. That's how the message of not littering got across.

Cleaning up

Though Saturday morning was rainy it was no barrier for our clean up. The campus was divided into 12 areas according to the different departments and the scrubbing began. Gloves and trash bags were provided to pick up plastic, paper, glass and metal waste. My friends and I from the Department of English were allotted the parking lot. We started off with cleaning but ended up hunting for treasure. Not for gold and diamond but for cycle tyres and plastic bottles, which were in abundance. What amused us most was finding underwear, then a shirt followed by a pair of pants (we got suspicious)!

The clean up went on from 9.00-11.00 a.m. after which the students gathered their waste in the ‘ Boxing Ring', filled their Scrub forms and left. Just by looking at the amount of garbage collected I can say that it was a good job. Some of my college mates agreed that it is easy to throw rubbish into the bin every day rather than clean year-long rubbish in one day.

The core group consisting of eight Department Representatives of Scrub Society collected the garbage piles in a cart and took it to the dump yard. While we were at it, we found a snake, which I thought to be a lizard. Sukesh identified the snake to be a Russells Kukri (Oligodon arnensis). We pushed the carts past the Zoology Department which was remarkably clean and blank with heaps of leaves gathered in a corner. I turned to Justin and asked what all that was. To my surprise he said that his department not only picked garbage but swept the place clean for their professors to park their vehicles. Pushing the cart was fun but exhausting, leaving us hungry. The day ended with Scrub President, James ‘Sir' treating us all to tasty pizzas.

Sruti is a Ist year B.A. English Literature student at Madras Christian College.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 3:58:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/nxg/Scrubbing-the-campus-clean/article15524614.ece

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