Swachh Mangaluru’ Abuse! Street Flower Vendors made to Clean Up their Own Mess
Mangaluru: It has happened in the past, it’s happened now, and will happen again! The ongoing festival period is not just heightening the spirits of people; it is also increasing the size of the mounds of garbage already plaguing the city. Left-over flowers, paper wrappers etc scattered all over after poor sales, paints a grim picture of the garbage collection and disposal system in the city post the festivities. The Mangaluru City Corporation has been nice to these street vendors who come from Bagalkote, Arsikere, Hassan and other parts of Karnataka, in allowing them to make business during various festival days.
But the problem is that once they are done with their sales for the day, these street vendors leave all the mess/garbage behind, which in some places are seen piled up. Even though Team Mangalorean had done reports on such Swachh Abuse issues in the past, but unfortunately no one from MCC has taken any action on these street vendors for littering garbage. But this time Team Mangalorean went a step further-first we clicked the photos of all the garbage created by these vendors-next we made a call to Ramakrishna Mission and its volunteers of Swachh Mangaluru Campaign, even called executive members of Antony Waste Handling Cell Pvt Ltd, which handles City’s garbage- and explained to them the situation- and requested them to come to the spot, near Town Hall, and see the mess and that they should make the street vendors do the clean up.
Photos taken Before Clean Up….
Both Ramakrishna Mission and Antony Waste readily agreed, and quickly sent their volunteers and staff, to deal with these street vendors. Team Mangalorean never bothered to call any MCC official, because we felt that it would be useless. Both the volunteers of Ramakrishna Mission and couple of supervisors of Antony Waste did a good job by urging the street vendors to clean up their mess- and this resulted in less work for the pourakarmikas to clean up someones else’s mess the next day. The street vendors were also warned of the consequences that they would face if they littered in future- and were told that they would be watched when they do their next business here. This is a eye opener for the lazy officials of MCC who had turned a blind eye all this time, and had made Pourakarmikas to do the dirty job made by outsiders.
But my question is that, why MCC employees have to clean up the mess left behind by the street vendors who come from other cities? These street vendors are not even the citizens of Mangaluru. They don’t even pay City taxes. Then why is MCC not taking any action against these street vendors who leave behind a big mess, that Pourakarmikas have to clean up. One frustrated and exhausted Pourakarmika speaking to Team Mangalorean said, “This is not fair, leaving behind such a large mess by these street vendors. They don’t even give us ten rupees to do their clean up work. While we have to clean up the daily garbage, this additional garbage by these out-of-town street vendors is a burden for us. These vendors don’t care, nor MCC officials care about us. Why should we have to clean the mess left behind by non-city residents. Even the street vendors who sell old clothes every Sunday, also leave behind unwanted clothes and every Monday we get stuck with the cleaning job. We only hope that MCC will look into this situation, and warn these street vendors about their carelessness and ugliness”
These Street vendors need to be blamed for the garbage-lined roads. Footpath vendors, mainly selling flowers, fruits and vegetables, would dispose of the waste wherever they set up business. Lately the garbage has become unmanageable because the number of these street vendors coming from outside using the city streets has gone up over the years. One city merchant said, “Some of us (merchants) have already discussed the issue with MCC, but all our efforts are in vain, since the MCC officials have done nothing so far. This is ridiculous- on one side we are talking about Swachh Bharath/Mangaluru, on the other hand you are allowing to create garbage”.
Photos taken after taking Action …
Although Mangaluru is ranked as the top three top cleanest cities in the country, but there has been always garbage and filth scattered all over the city. The MCC officials have turned a blind eye towards the garbage created by street vendors. These vendors need to be warned, and fined if they leave behind garbage after their business. Once a volunteer of The Ugly Indians, a volunteer group that help in cleaning the city had said, “We believe that there is no magic wand, or silver bullet, to solve India’s or Mangaluru’s civic problems. We are realists, and accept that many of Mangaluru’s problems are hard to solve even if the government and public work closely together and money was freely available. Of our many civic problems, we view the problem of visible filth on our streets as a behaviour and attitude problem that can be solved in our lifetime (or rather, this month). This can be achieved without spending money or changing legislation or systems. It requires coming up with smart ideas to change people’s rooted cultural behaviour and attitudes. And making sure those ideas work. And to make this happen we need public support in keeping the city clean, and we also need more volunteers”.
The above message from the TUI volunteer should be taken very seriously by all those who are ignorant and littering the city, including street vendors who mess up their business areas. Let’s not be ignorant- let’s appreciate the work done by MCC Pourakarmikas, volunteers of (Swachh Bharath) Ramakrishna Mission and all others who are trying to keep Mangaluru clean. We need to learn manners of cleanliness, we need to join hands with Ramakrishna Mission and other voluntary associations who are striving to keep this beautiful coastal city clean. Let’s not dirty it by our ignorance and dirty manners. MCC needs to educate these street vendors about cleanliness, and if they are still ignorant, punish them with hefty fines. Period.
Team Mangalorean extends heartfelt thanks to volunteers of Ramakrishna Mission and the supervisors of Antony waste Handling Cell Pvt Ltd for getting the job done. Team Mangalorean started and highlighted the issue, you folks finished it! Team Mangalorean, Ramakrishna Mission and Antony Waste Ltd did make a difference and a big change when MCC couldn’t do it! Period.