The stress of urban living creates a great demand on personal resources. Most people cannot devote their time, inclination and energy towards environmental causes, even if they want to. Maybe that is why huge sacks of building material debris were thrown carelessly by unknown elements right in the middle of a prominent junction opposite St. Michael’s church, Mumbai. And most members of the public did not even bother to do anything about this huge wall of garbage that was becoming bigger and dirtier over a period of 8 months, due to complete public indifference! We have to take Public Responsibility for this waste disposal systems.

This was until, I visited the spot with my cynical team who were resigned about this hideous sight in the middle of the busy junction. Shobha G Rao consistently followed up with municipal authorities to remove a huge wall of debris, and then educated the public to ensure that spot never gets dirty again. All it took was a lot of patient waiting and talking at the local municipal office. I showed the officials many photos of the piled up garbage at that public junction as part of my public responsibility drive. After a lot of waiting at the local ward municipal office, she was able to meet the highest authority, the ward Commissioner. He immediately delegated the local ward officer on the cause who sent a lorry to pick up the debris.

But this big pile of debris required a huge JCB bull dozer machine and a lorry to clear that garbage. Persistent follow up with the officials took place, who then had to deploy five trips of clearing vehicles for cleaning up the huge garbage and debris from that spot. I had to endure angry stares and even curses by motorists who were inconvenienced by traffic restrictions. I had to stand in the middle of the busy road to direct traffic and give open space to the bull dozer and lorry in that busy junction.

In the end, I used the help of the local traffic police station to put up barricades at that spot and ensure that the place did not get used to dump garbage again. Even local shopkeepers were educated to prevent misuse of that spot for garbage disposal. If more private people like me, Shobha G Rao, take public responsibility for a clean garbage free public places, then we can ensure a healthier environment for all to live in. Do look around your area. Can you as a private citizen, form teams, start taking public responsibility for your immediate environment and clear up piled up unauthorized garbage spots?

About Shobha G Rao

Green Ubuntu Evangelist Shobha G Rao is a lawyer by qualification and a Life skill trainer by passion. Her 'Smilemakers' firm has a vision to ensure that people reconnect with their inner ability to smile and create smiles around them. Her immense local work for the cause of a Clean environment, was recognized nationally when she was selected as one of the finalists for the Times Of India's Lead India contest. Her project submitted in 2007 was to Clean India much before Swatch Bharat campaign became a reality in 2014. Her writings aim to change the attitude of people - from indifference to taking responsibility for the environment. Only when private citizens start taking constructive actions in their own areas to resolve public environmental issues, can we live in a better world.