This Telangana group's 'municipality giri' is keeping Karimnagar clean. Here's how

It's been 40 days since the group, which is called Clean Karminagar on Facebook, started cleaning the area around the dam
The group at work (Pic: Sourced)
The group at work (Pic: Sourced)

At about 6 am, 10 to 15 people start gathering near Karimnagar’s Lower Manair Dam (LMD). Armed with gloves and biodegradable plastic bags, they start to pick up all the waste strewn about this popular tourist spot. These people are not a part of any NGO, organisation or movement. They are simply citizens of Karimnagar who care about their area. The Clean Karimnagar initiative is drawing crowds and ample media attention now, but the lone soldier who started it all a few days ago, on Bhagat Singh's birthday on September 28, was Bhavin Patel. This Karimnagar resident pursued Aircraft Maintenance Engineering from the Centre for Civil Aviation Training (CCAT), New Delhi. It was in 2013 that he returned to Karimnagar, after interning with Jet Airways for six months, to join the family business. A casual stroll around the neighborhood quickly turned into a clean-up drive. "As I had worked with an NGO before, I was itching to do more for the society. And that is how it started," says the 29-year-old who has worked with an NGO called Citizen 4 Forces in the past. 

They have had over 200 volunteers till date

In Shankar Dada MBBS style, the initiative decided to start 'municipality giri' and keep their cool, focus on their work and not complain about anything. "Actually, the problem is that this is a tourist area but there were no dustbins here. We approached the municipality and asked them for dustbins and they immediately set up five of them and after some time, an additional five," he shares. They are even against the idea of putting up flex boards with instructions like 'Don't litter', "because flex boards are made of plastic and that would be going against the very idea of our campaign," he says and mulls further, "Maybe we can meet the collector and request for iron boards." They have even picked up trash like diapers, sanitary napkins, injections and more, informs Bhavin.  

Volunteers near the dam

One thing that Bhavin takes pride in is the fact that there is no compulsion on volunteers yet they continue to participate. Due to their collective efforts, an area of 1.2 km around the dam is now clean and they want to concentrate on the next one km for another 100 days before taking up their next task, brightening up the walls of government schools. But a question looms large over the whole initiative. "Now that the area is clean, whose responsibility is it to officially maintain it?" We suppose only time will tell.

Two famous clean ups initiated by citizens
- Versova Beach Clean-up: Led by Afroz Shah, this is one of the world's largest beach clean up drives held in Mumbai
- Chennai Coastal Clean-up: Started by Chennai Trekking Club in 2010, this drive spans across several beaches

For more on them, check out

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