VASANTHNAGAR: About 200 people and eight organisations on Saturday kick-started The New Indian Express’ pilot project to clean up Bengaluru's neighbourhoods.
Four teams cleaned up the area: one outside the park at 2nd Cross, the second inside the park near Hopcoms, the third at 10th Cross and the fourth at the cow shed near the Bescom junction. Each group had a mix of students, senior citizens and residents.
The Vasanthnagar Residents' Welfare Association, Senior Citizens' Forum of Vasanthnagar, Gems B-School, Mount Carmel College, Idea Cellular and Pulse Events are among those working together to make Vasanthnagar spic-n-span.
How it began
Six months ago, Bhanu Prakash, a businessman and an executive committee member of the Residents' Welfare Association, was surprised to see Friederike, a German woman, cleaning 10th Cross. Struck by her selfless gesture, Sampath Kumar (now the local councillor) encouraged residents of the area to join her. "This park had been abandoned, and was being misused for illegal activities. Alcohol bottles were thrown here. Slowly, we began to see improvement," Bhanu Prakash said.
The association adopted this park three months ago. "We need `7 lakh for benches, a pathway, children's play area, and a shelter for senior citizens. We have already collected `2.5 lakh," he said. Friederike teaches German at a local institute. "I have been staying here for five years. I like the weather. The diversity of this city attracts me," she said.
She is happy to be a part of the campaign. She was cleaning the BBMP park on 2nd Cross on Saturday.
Retired ACP Muniratna said children should be taught not to litter. "It is our responsibility to make children learn good habits," she said. M Radhamma and Mallika, both homemakers and members of the Laughter Club of Vasanthnagar, participated enthusiastically in the campaign.
"It is such an inspiration to see so many cleaning the park we use every day," Radhamma said. Retired IAS officer Amar Narayana, who addressed the group, wondered why we needed a Prime Minister to tell us to keep our surroundings clean.
"It is our responsibility and let's all do it," he said. He urged people to segregate waste at source. Narayana, another retired IAS officer, was impressed with the youngsters in the campaign. "Little things, like throwing plastic cups in dustbins, make a big difference," he said.
R S Kalyan Shetty (90) won many hearts with his enthusiasm.
"We should keep mother earth in good condition. There should be an honest approach," he said. A retired IPS officer, Shetty appreciated TNIE's efforts to clean up Bengaluru. "It is good to see a media house coming forward and educating the people," he said.
Anil Kumar, who works as deputy general manager in an automobile firm, spoke about the importance of waste segregation. "We will go to each house and tell them to keep two different bins for dry and wet waste," he said. Dr R Prabhu, ENT specialist living in Vasanthnagar for 30 years, said the campaign would give Bengaluru a cleaner look.
NGO Youth For Parivarthan, which has been cleaning up spots in the city, also joined in on Sunday.