Story of a lost journalist

September 26, 2008

Urgent call to all! Help keep our cities clean!

Filed under: My Musing Moments,People — Cris @ 21:51
Tags: ,

I have found a brand new urge to spread the spirit of keeping our city clean. Enthusiasm comes from watching auto rickshaw drivers take a left and then a right – I don’t mean the road turns, I am talking about their habitual ugh spitting. I have tried a few times to tell them “Chetta (Brother) we shouldn’t do it, we should keep our city clean”, but thought better of it, reminding self of certain barking traits they have shown incredible talent of. Besides its not just the auto rickshaw drivers that are to be blamed. I have seen people who study with me or work with me, do the same. I thought it’d be right to start with them first. Their excuse mostly is: so what do I do when I suddenly need to spit?

Unfortunately there always may not be a bin around the corner to tell them, “go use the use-me”. So this is what you could do. Carry a tissue paper. Its not a bad thing at all. If you could do it when you are abroad you could do it here as well. Actually you should keep them in plenty, so you wont have any reason to use the whole public road as your little washbasin. Spit on it, and keep the tissue papers with you, in a bag or a cover or wherever you can find some space in your personal being, and drop it at the next bin you see. There’s nothing more easily possible. Give it a shot.

Another often-dropped object is a chewing gum. I use chewing gums and I use them mostly on my way to some place (for fresh breath). I always take an extra piece of paper with me first before taking a chewing gum. Once you are done refreshing your breath, get your gum on the paper and keep it with you; I normally keep in my bag. On seeing a trash can, dump it there.

If your, ahem, emissions can be solved this way, there is no question about other wasteful deposits. They could wait to see a bin, and if you are not yet aware, you get huge black colored packets that could hold a humungous amount of waste. Those are meant for us people. Its quite cheap actually, you get plenty of ‘em for a small amount of money. And use it to cover the inside of your waste baskets so when it’s full you can wrap it up, take it and drop it in your nearest bin – its easier than you think.

Ok those are the main areas. I cant think of more immediate problems. If you think there is any, let me know. Les try and solve them together and keep our city clean. Actually the message is to keep wherever we are, clean, your city or mine is not the question.



  1. When eating candies, don’t throw away their wrappers. Keep them in your pocket and dispose them off when you see a bin. With chewies its even worthwhile. Use that wrapper to dispose it off.

    Crush the mineral water bottles.

    When you buy kappalandi while on the beach make sure you throw away the paper into a dust bin. Yeah its paper , its bio degradable, but its no excuse for littering.

    Make sure that your environ friendly acts are seen by people. They usually follow suit .

    Can’t think of more at the moment 😛

    Comment by aashiks — September 26, 2008 @ 22:31 | Reply

  2. Ahem, excuse me, no offence, but where do you see a dustbin in Trivandrum?? In my 18 years of life in Tvm, I’ve never seen a dustbin for public purpose; only those which are meant for the corporation truck to take and dump in some god forsaken place. But I appreciate your initiative, seriously!
    P.S. We’re really lucky. You know, in Assam and all, people spit in the seats of bus.

    Comment by Thomas — September 26, 2008 @ 23:26 | Reply

  3. Maybe, I’ve seen one or two in the Kowdiar area.

    Comment by Thomas — September 26, 2008 @ 23:29 | Reply

  4. And you think that’s the biggest problem? What about urinating in public places? The very oft seen sight in our good old city!

    Comment by Thomas — September 26, 2008 @ 23:33 | Reply

  5. Wally,

    While promoting an anti-littering drive is all nice and good, it’d be even better if people would use separate bins for recyclable trash and other garbage. This would allow the TVM corporation to redirect the content to appropriate destinations (I believe we have recycling centers somewhere in the Chackai by-pass).

    It may not be a big deal for you or me, but this one’s for the kids. Recycle!

    Comment by Nish — September 26, 2008 @ 23:34 | Reply

  6. Hi Cris,
    Cleanliness is next to godliness. It is not something we can develop overnight. It requires discipline, education, time, money, effort, propaganda, etc etc.
    I once asked somebody who spit on the platform of a railway station if he would do that in his house. Well, his response is not something I can write on a public forum like this 🙂

    Comment by Salil — September 27, 2008 @ 01:41 | Reply

  7. Atleast spit is bio degradable. Throwing away plastic bags – that worries me a bit more.

    Comment by Binny V A — September 27, 2008 @ 01:53 | Reply

  8. Spiting in public places is a thing for which i argue with couple of my friends ! Apart from ‘polluting’ 😉 the environment , they are putting me into an embarrassing situation for standing with them!
    Bike riders in Trivandrum may have faced another problem! Pan spat! They come in all flavours to decorate our dress. That was the second reason which made me use helmets well before mandatory helmet rules.
    And come to shanghumugham!! The “kadala” vendors now use plastic cups and plastic spoons! The beach is dying.. 😦

    Comment by Srijith — September 27, 2008 @ 02:10 | Reply

  9. aashiks has said it all.
    I wonder why I never feel like spitting(unless I am chewing a gum) when I am outside?
    No-spitting unless extremely necessary is a trait that needs to be inculcated.
    If you are the spit-for-a-spit-sake types, you will spit 10 times an hour.
    Walk into Transport Bhavan near East fort and then you see the spitty(sic) world!


    PS: Kalip Alert from your side bar
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    Fatal error: Maximum execution time of 30 seconds exceeded in C:\Domains\\wwwroot\blog\wp-includes\wp-db.php on line 124

    Comment by Nikhil Narayanan — September 27, 2008 @ 11:48 | Reply

  10. You should have spoken about the ill-effects of garbage. 😀 That’ll help in spreading the word, more. 😀

    Comment by Hari Shanker — September 27, 2008 @ 14:11 | Reply

  11. I think thats a pretty thought provoking post. And i quite liked many thoughts here. And the last line was particularly contextual !

    Comment by Kavi — September 27, 2008 @ 14:50 | Reply

  12. I agree with you 101%..

    But sadly,things doesn’t work out bcoz each person thinks “Ah,the other one is not doing his part..So why should i bother to do my part,it is not going to make any difference”..So the chain goes on and finally nobody contributes constructively.. 🙂

    Comment by Nimmy — September 27, 2008 @ 17:16 | Reply

  13. I agree with you 101%..

    But sadly,things doesn’t work out bcoz each person thinks “Ah,the other one is not doing his part..So why should i bother to do my part,it is not going to make any difference”..So the chain goes on and finally nobody contributes constructively.. 🙂

    Comment by Nimmy — September 27, 2008 @ 17:16 | Reply

  14. No spit, no litter – two extremely difficult things to implement as most of us think public places are meant for spitting and littering. Even the posh corridors of Mumbai multiplexes spot a board: DO NOT SPIT. It’s written only in English, not Marathi. So they know the crowd will be able to read English. I wonder why such a crowd needs such a board. 🙂

    Comment by Bindhu — September 27, 2008 @ 19:31 | Reply

  15. @aashiks, perfect!!! I didnt think about the mineral water bottles!! Thank you!

    @Thomas, yes, bins are pretty uncommon, thats why I suggested carrying an extra piece of paper/tissue paper with you and dropping it at the next bin you see – it could be inside your classroom or at your house. Keep it with you till you see the bin, not seeing a bin is no reason to drop it in the road. Yes urinating is even worse. I have just written what suddenly came to mind and could be exercised instantly without waiting for any outside help – which would likely delay the entire process! And those guilty of this, they know very well what they are doing, they dont have a reason – the solution I could tell them is wait for the next public toilet or find one indoors, but they are quite aware of that! Fines maybe will help. Do contribute all areas you think need attention so we can work out for something together. Only reason why nothing happens is cause everyone laughs it off with the thought “Never gonna happen”. Why not? There is nothing more easy/simple!

    @Nish, recycle?! People are complaining about not finding garbage cans so a recycle bin is too much to ask for! But yes, it’d be good if we had ’em both enough and more so there wouldnt be a reason to complain!

    @Salil, thats where I beg to differ. The big things like bringing more garbage cans to the city, or more public toilets, all that should take time and effort. Thats why I suggested we find immediate and easier measures where we dont have to depend on anyone else to keep the city clean. Its because we all shut it off as a not-possible thing, it becomes not possible. If we stopped and thought for a moment what can be done immediately, I am sure we can make things a lot better. These few were what I thought of. And Aashik has added more. If each of us could come up with something and work towards it, I am positive there is nothing impossible about it!

    @Binny, its all bad. And easily solvable too! Atleast the spit and plastic covers are!

    @Srijith, hang in there bro. Keep trying to talk and show them with your actions its perfectly simple and easy to do our part in keeping a clean city around us. Maybe others, at least one will be inspired to follow suit!

    @Nikhil, thats good but next time I hope you would follow the same rule for chewing gums as well. Use the wrappers that come with it, or an extra piece of paper and then throw it off when you spot a bin, keep it with you till then.

    @Hari, yes kiddo I thought about it. But I had to do more research on that and know what I am talking about first 🙂

    @Kavi, thank you :-). And the last line proved entirely applicable to some people I knew, who’d have come straight with the point – yeah I keep mine clean, but not the others.

    @Nimmy, entirely true. Its a vicious circle and the circle breaks only when one person jumps out of it. It can be each one of us. I have jumped out and I believe so have many others with me, from these comments I see. So yes we could make a difference.

    @Bindhu, its sad that even the authorities have taken it for granted its simply an unachievable feat. But boards might make a difference, English or whatever language – maybe one person about to do the act, sees it, suffers an immediate conscience attack and thinks better of it. So no harm, anything towards reminding people against it, is a welcome thought.

    Comment by Cris — September 28, 2008 @ 14:57 | Reply

  16. The sad part is that our pysche is so trained that we often think keeping the city clean is someone else’s job..nice to see people who actually care to keep..
    Probably we need more bins in the city and a fine system…if people dont do it voluntarily maybe a fine system is the only way out..

    Comment by mathew — September 28, 2008 @ 21:55 | Reply

  17. Oh! I don;t throw chewed gums.
    I meant, I don’t even feel like spitting unless I am chewing. And why people feel like spitting for no reason.


    Comment by Nikhil Narayanan — September 28, 2008 @ 21:57 | Reply

  18. Reminds me of a comedy flick[cinemala type] and the quote therein, “Ethe malayali – eee jeevi evidayum thuppum – sookshikuka”.

    I have done the same , say a thousand and one times; but now I have quit.

    Comment by Vishnu Kuttan — September 29, 2008 @ 11:05 | Reply

  19. @mathew, exactly, everyone including me think that way – that it was someone else’s business. Only when you stop before throwing something out to the street and check yourself, you will realize you are in it too. I wonder how its possible to get more bins in the city. How does one go about it, who to approach?

    @Nikhil, Ohhh I got that wrong! Sorry pal!

    @Vishnu Kuttan, you have quit, and that makes all the difference. There are people I know in spite of being pointed out are not ready to drop old habits!

    Comment by Cris — September 29, 2008 @ 22:12 | Reply

  20. Nice post!
    I have never spit on the roads. But I am guilty of throwing away waste in public dumps which actually is not any public bin but a public area turned to a dirty waste dump place. As Cris suggested, we can wait till we reach our home to throw it in the dustbin. But where do we empty our dust bin? For that the Govt or any private or public initiative should be taken. In my opinion, Government should take care of it on a national level. We are paying tax for it!!
    After coming to the US, I can actually feel the difference of having a clean and healthy city. I adore the Government system here for checking on all those matters and also the public for co-operating with the Government. The tax paid by the public is well utilized for the benefit of the people. And everything works so perfectly here. It looks so simple. But it is not! They have taken effort to make the system and to maintain it. If they can do it, so can we. If a person is caught by the cop for spitting on the road for that matter for any law violation, a ticket/fine is given. Somehow it works.
    Our place is naturally so beautiful. So we should be able to make it more beautiful than any other place with much little effort than most others. For example: If deserts in Middle East can be turned into such beautiful cities, cant we do that little to make our place a better place to live  ..Hmm anyway I think our Trivandrum is getting much much better – atleast in some parts.

    Comment by rose — September 30, 2008 @ 23:47 | Reply

  21. @rose, when I lived in a stand alone house, I used to have the corporation people come to collect our garbage from homes/common bins for the entire residential area. Now I am in an apartment building and we dump our trash in a common area. I believe municpal corporations are supposed to cover all residential areas coming under it.
    And yes Ros, it really needs such little effort from the people! I wish people fought with the Government for these things like more bins, and rules to impose fines on offenders, instead of on completely irrelevant subjects!

    Comment by Cris — October 2, 2008 @ 23:17 | Reply

  22. In Tvm I guess thats not much of a prob. When I stayed in Ekm, I have seen the streets flooding with the waste from all the houses.No one came to collect and people including us did not know where to dump the waste !! (for few months .. later the corporation took some steps tp clean up)

    Comment by rose — October 3, 2008 @ 07:04 | Reply

  23. @rose, thats bad! But I think it is upto us to react. Question is, though we have all detested this and wished things will get better, have we, as individuals, ever really tried to do anything about it? I havent. Have I tried to find out if there was a way to get more bins in the city, to find a way to clear trash cans from the neighborhood more often? No and yet I sit and complain. That should change, if we want a change.

    Comment by Cris — October 5, 2008 @ 04:58 | Reply

  24. @Cris and all of you who have commented, I think we are already doing something by discussing this topic here. But at the same time, we all also have to acknowledge that this is not enough.
    What more can we do?
    1. Tell people to use bins when we see them litter
    2. Teach children to keep the environment clean (remember it always begins with them)
    3. Urge the use of bio-degradables against plastics
    4. Form or be part of action groups that take such issues to the authorities (just dial up your local representative and talk to him/her, and you have already made a beginning; for those in Trivandrum, check out
    5. Keep blogging actively about such issues and also keep following up

    Comment by nithin — October 5, 2008 @ 22:46 | Reply

  25. @nithin, as matter of fact I was planning to ask a friend who do we contact to know about this. Thank you so much for the link – I cant read the font though and I do have Malayalam font installed.

    Comment by Cris — October 8, 2008 @ 00:01 | Reply

  26. […] Lets keep our cities clean By admin A short intro to the blog. I am starting this as a follow up on my attempts to keep city clean. […]

    Pingback by Lets keep our cities clean « Lets keep our cities clean! — January 5, 2009 @ 15:51 | Reply

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