Monday, April 21, 2008

Cleaning the city’s finest lung space

Cleaning the city’s finest lung space

Swathi Shivanand

The Pollution Control Board-initiated drive was meant to preserve Lalbagh

Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.

A motivated lot: Volunteers from various organisations participating in a drive organised to clean the Lalbagh in Bangalore on Sunday.

BANGALORE: On a piercing hot Sunday, it seemed like Motilal Nehru, father of our first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, was part of a rally to clean up the city’s heritage that is Lalbagh. Well, almost.

Along with several rallyists, Motilal Nehru’s Lanchester 1928 car along with 24 other vintage beauties, glided from Vidhana Soudha to Lalbagh in an effort to draw attention to the endeavour of cleaning up the 250-acre lung space of Bangalore.
Collaborative effort

More than 100 groups, about 20 in each batch, assiduously picked up plastic cups, covers and other refuse from their allocated areas in Lalbagh. About 1,000 volunteers from the Civil Defence mingled with the commoners as both groups sported “Green Code” caps, spread over the green fields armed with their wicker baskets for over three hours.

“It is not that Lalbagh is unclean. We simply want to raise awareness about the need for people to participate in keeping public spaces clean,” said P.V. Prabhakar, member of a cleaning team and a senior executive of a pharmaceutical company. Sounding out similar opinions, Edward Rodrigues, executive director of the Vintage Car club, said, “If we as citizens do not do anything about saving spaces that belong to us, then we have no one to blame.”
‘Continued enthusiasm’

This massive clean-up programme was organised by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), which received manpower assistance from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services. H.C. Sharatchandra, Chairman of the KSPCB, spoke of the ongoing efforts, which although not entirely successful, had not dimmed the enthusiasm to keep Lalbagh clean. “We had employed a few people as Green Police personnel two years ago.

That was not very fruitful as they did not have the power to penalise those littering. Then, we had a drive where children stopped people who came through the gates of Lalbagh with plastic covers and gave them cloth bags,” Mr. Sharatchandra said. The KSPCB plans to use existing laws that empower policemen to fine those who litter the place.

“While initially, they might be let off with a warning, it will soon be escalated to a fine and persistent offences could even attract imprisonment,” Mr. Sharatchandra warned.


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