CHENNAI: For the last three weeks, a group of street vendors who do business along the Marina beach have resumed their one-time ritual of picking up waste on a stretch of the shore -- from near the corporation swimming pool until the labour statue.
"This had been a weekly ritual where a group of us (vendors) assemble every Monday before 9 am and pick up waste along the beach. We had stopped the practice for around three years. Now, we are taking it up once again," said Sekaran, National Association of Street Vendors of India.
On Monday, a group of fifty vendors gathered on the beach to pick up waste. While this initiative by the vendors has remained largely unknown, they have, in the past, been accused of polluting the beach and dirtying it by some sections of the population.
"Around six to seven years earlier, on days that I could not come to pick up waste, I had even sent my father in my place. Now, he's no more. Today, there is a growing perception that we do not keep the beach clean and litter it. So, we have decided to resume the practice," said Sekaran.
They said that while the beach is being cleaned by Urbaser SA Sumeet staff, there is always room for help.
"They clean the beach up well everyday. But this is a place where people visit often, especially in the mornings. So, it is often prone to littering. So, we thought what we do may be of help to the staff cleaning the garbage on a daily basis," said Subash Chandran, another vendor.
"This is where we have been doing business for so long -- some of us for over 10-15 years. We want it to be clean just as anyone else in the city would want it to be," he added.
Usually, around fifty to hundred people, all vendors, gather for the morning activity and more have been encouraged to join them, they said.