Families found littering in Andhra Pradesh to get ‘return gift’ of garbage

Hyderabad: In a novel initiative to fight against the littering of streets and dumping garbage in public places, the municipal authorities in the port city of Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh have started sending “return gifts” of garbage to the erring households.

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It was the brain child of the city municipal commissioner Swapnil Dinakar Pundkar after he realized that mere counselling and appealling had failed to change the habits of some people and they were not cooperating in the civic body’s campaign to sanitize the city.

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As part of his drive Pundkar went from door to door in Shantinagar area of Kakinada and personally returned the garbage to some households which had thrown the garbage on the road side instead of putting in the garbage bins or hand over the municipal workers at their doorstep.

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As a family watched in disbelief, Pundkar took the garbage from the hands of a municipal worker and threw inside the gate of one house in the street.

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“Do you have any sense”, he angrily shouted at the women of the household asking why she had dumped the garbage on the road-side. “If anybody indulges such acts and litter the streets and open space, our staff will give them the return gift”, he warned adding that the administration will take the issue very seriously.

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When a woman of the family tried to argue and complained of water stagnation, officer asked, “how the water will flow if you continue to throw the garbage in the drain clogging it”?

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Kakinada has a population of half a million and cleanliness and sanitation was one of the major challenges before the people and the administration despite taking several measures.

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“If violations continue we will impose fines too”, he said pointing out that the civic body was spending considerable resources to keep the city clean.

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1,100 sanitary workers

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Kakinada Municipal Corporation has deployed 1,100 sanitary workers equipped with barcode readers to pick up the garbage from every house. “The city has been divided into 294 micro pockets, each with 250 to 300 households. Each pocket is covered by two workers to pick up the garbage”, he said.

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As part of these efforts each household in the limits of the corporation has been fitted with tags on gates and a sanitary worker will have to swipe to confirm that he or she has picked the garbage from there.

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The video of the “return gift” has gone viral on the social media bringing a lot of accolades for the official while some disagreed with him terming it “rude”.

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“What else can we do when all the positive measures and counseling failed to bring the necessary change in people’s habits”, asked another official.

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Disposal of the domestic garbage is a big challenge in almost every major and medium Indian city leading to the littering of the roads and public spaces. The administration in many places was finding it difficult to locate the dump yards to keep the massive amount of garbage produced everyday.

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