January 19th, 2017
In the course of becoming the Silicon Valley from the Garden City of India, Bengaluru (then Bangalore) underwent a radical transformation in its structure. Lofty skyscrapers and a massive urban migration burdened the metropolitan for which it had to pay the price, with its trees, gardens, and lakes. Gradually, the green cover of the city slumped to make way for high rises. During this process, Bengaluru lost its old-world charm and also earned the sobriquet of garbage city by 2014. This was enough to motivate many concerned citizens to take up the cleanliness drive seriously and make an impact.
Amith Amarnath, a young advocate (then a law student), had grown tired of people complaining every day about garbage. He found that everyone indulged more in armchair activism but didn’t take up any initiative to clean the mess. Even the government was not taking any steps in this direction. That’s when Amith and some of his like-minded friends decided to start a cleanliness drive with the sole motivation of saving their “garden city” from turning into a garbage heap. Starting in June 2014 from a small children’s park in their locality in Banashankari Stage II, the group went on with their clean-up drives and formed a non-profit organisation called ‘Youth for Parivarthan‘.
“I was joined by six of my friends, and we started spot-fixing in several areas. We now identify places that are prone to garbage, places that look dirty and ugly. After inspecting the places, we contact the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and get the garbage cleared,” said Amith to The Logical Indian.
But it does not end here. The area gets an uplift as Amith and his team paint terracotta designs on the wall, build benches to sit, install CCTV cameras and give an aesthetic makeover to the place so that others think twice before throwing garbage. Youth for Parivarthan call this their ‘Parivarthan Drive’.
“After our first Parivarthan Drive at Banashankari Stage II, we got a huge response and encouragement from the people around us. This is what motivated us to take our initiative further for the betterment of the city,” said Amith.
Youth for Parivarthan has spot-fixed 68 places in Bengaluru within a span of two years in Uttarahalli, Jayanagar, Halasuru, SG Palya, Padmanabhanagar. They have over 1,200 members in their Facebook group, and today they receive requests from people across the city to fix an area. Every Sunday the organisation conducts clean-up drives, they go door-to-door creating awareness among people and also making the residents of the neighbourhoods participate in their drives. It is an inspiring sight to watch young students and working professionals joining hands to bring about difference, no matter how small it is.
The organisation sometimes meet challenges too. “Most of the time BBMP joins us in the clean-up drives, but in many areas, we find them reluctant to work. Another major issue is the maintenance of a place. As a solution, we are installing CCTV cameras.”
Apart from spot-fixing, Amith reaches out to schools to educate children and teach them the importance of cleanliness. Their team visit old age home to spend some quality time with senior citizens and also organise programmes to encourage youngsters.
Youth for Parivarthan hopes to bring Bengaluru back on the map of cleanliness and make it the cleanest city in India. While they have achieved success in partially fulfilling their dreams, they still have a long way to go to reach their goals and only if everyone joins hands in doing so.