A challenge out of the bin

The #TrashItRight challenge by Namma Ooru Foundation. Photo: Special Arrangement

The #TrashItRight challenge by Namma Ooru Foundation. Photo: Special Arrangement  

#TrashItRight seeks to find a spot in the human heart that is hopefully three-fourths civic responsibility and the remaining one-fourth, vanity.

Buoyed by the success of #MasillaMarghazhi, Namma Ooru Foundation has launched this challenge to get individuals to pursue source-segregation and allied waste-management processes more as an act of volition than one of abidance.

In its essence, it is cut from the same cloth as most other challenges that seek to ride on social-media virality. Participants have to take a selfie of themselves with their source-segregation kit and post the photo on social media, tag five friends and challenge them to do the same. It also expects them to tag Namma Ooru Foundation on the post. The photo has to be accompanied by a personal waste-management note.

Basic kit will do

“We want them to pose with the basic waste-management kit — the two-bin one-bag kit. If people have a three-bin kit — green, blue and red — they can pose with it and take a selfie too. Though proper colour-coding of bins is important, as that is at the root of source-segregation and makes for easy understanding of the concept even among those who may not be able to understand the text, people can get started on the challenge without having properly colour-coded bins; however, along the way, we would emphasise the significance of colour coding. The procedure of the challenge is listed out at the Foundation’s website —,” explains P. Natarajan, founder of Namma Ooru Foundation.

He points out that they would be seeking to have a few celebrities on board to propel the initiative by being role models.

“Celebrity or otherwise, participants have to not only pose with the waste-management kit, but also practise source segregation before they start challenging others to do it. We will choose only such celebrities to be part of the campaign. Besides, we have noticed many IAS and IFS officers who take waste management seriously and practise it in their backyards, and we would like to rope them in for the campaign.”

During the music season, #MasiallaMarghazhi managed to reach a wide group of people because some musicians performing in the season supported it by posting their selifies with reusuable water bottles.

Why this campaign?

There is an inevitable question.

By getting participants to also tag Namma Ooru Foundation, a voluntary organisation that functions as a waste-management solutions provider, there is the uneasy question of branding that the entity is likely to derive from the exercise.

This is Natarjan’s response to this poser: “Let me put it this way. There are two things involved in this, and both are related: one, the rest of the world should know that so many people are participating in it, which would serve as a spur for them to get started too; and two, the efforts have to be channelised for it to become a powerful movement. If people engage in such exercises here and there, without any common focal point, it won’t be effective. By being the pivot, we will from time to time broadcast the progress of the exercise, and that will encourage more people to join it. Of course, the challenge will also provide branding for the organisation, but that is not the objective at all. Branding is just a byproduct of the exercise. If the brand got out to more people, ultimately, we would have served more people. There is the possibility of telling more people and engaging with them.”

A second attempt

Actually, #TrashItRight is a relaunched initiative, hoping to get it right the second time around.

“We launched this initiative last year, but it turned out to be a damp squib. The indifferent success of last year’s campaign stemmed from the fact that we asked residents to take videos of themselves with their source segregation kit and how they went about their daily waste-management routine went. Taking a video is too much work, as the lukewarm response to the campaign showed. Besides, as we found out the hard way, people like to be seen more through their selfies than videos,” says Natarajan.

A volunteer of the Namma Ooru Foundation says, “Last year, to encourage residents to take up the challenge, members of the core team at the Foundation shot videos of themselves going about their daily waste management chores.”

The same strategy is being followed this year, with the selfie challenge.

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Printable version | Sep 18, 2020 2:18:47 PM |

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