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Choice is yours to be Litterer or Human - Makalidurga Cleanup

Being with BTC trekking events from past one year, I have written blogs but today I found it much difficult to write about coz I am in dilemma to write what BTC did and what others do. This was my first experience with cleaning up a place that was made filthy by insensible trekkers.

Before I start I would thank to the people who clean up the roads daily. These are the people who have bend thousand times a day to pick up your littered wrappers and cigarette butts , waste and anything that you call, “The Garbage”. They are the people who even clean your spits and shits and do remember that they clean it every day. They might just not like it do it but they do it for their living. Swap your work for a day with one of these people whom you see somewhere around 6 am to 9 am cleaning on the city streets. You will know how painful it is to put your hands into dirt and filth and do this job. 

As you read these lines you might find my word too harsh but it has immensely punched me and it should also hit you as well. I go ahead to share the Indian mindset along with the Garbage Story at Makalidurga rather Cleaning Makalidurga.

My roommate asked me why you didn’t take up Bangalore roads and streets than to clean up the abandoned mountain. One of my team Organizer Channa had explained that, many would be ready to clean up road, but nobody will go for climbing the hills and clean it. Very true to his answer and I also think that Trekking is close to nature and we choose nature to rewind ourselves. And this is what is our happiness is. These hills & nature is getting dirty is not acceptable. So we at BTC came up the event for cleaning. 

After the Skandigiri cleanup, this was second event to clean up Makalidurga. We were 18 members who reached this place in groups by Jeep, Bus and bikes. First group that was mine we reached around 8 pm. This was group 1 with 7 people with Padma, Ritu, Virander, Channa, Chaitanya , Sharath, Kiran, and Sudha As the other groups were commuting by bus, they were to come by 9:30. The Organiser (Virander & Channa) had arranged our breakfast and after completing our breakfast we left to climb up. The plan was to first group will reach top, clean the fort area and the temple vicinity. The second group will clean up the mid-level. The Organizer waited behind for other group to reach.
After finishing the breakfast the trek started around 9:20 am. We need to cross a railway crossing and then walk across an old temple to reach the trek. I could see thrash thrown out on the railway tracks. This is common on all railway tracks across India and I don’t know what solution we should have for this. (Anyone who read this blog – Pls Suggest). I have seen the field adjacent to the tracks always being littered with paper/ themocol glasses, food plates and chips & snacks wrapper. These farmers almost have to put in double the amount of time to clean the fields and then tilling.

To talk about Makalidurga is a hill fort and a village around 60 Km from Bangalore, near Doddaballapura. This was my first visit to Makalidurga and I had come here to clean the Hill and fort. 

Walking past the temple I saw plastics, but decided to collect later as we had to reach the top as said. From the Hill base when I looked upon the hill and it was all barren, dried up and I could see the breeze carrying the mud dust.
As we all started climbing the trail that seems tricky and the dry mud was causing feet’s to skid. On that the grasses on the hills were burnt and the black carbons were just all over our hands and clothes. The blazing sun and scorching heat was not easy to bear and it was just 40 minutes of the trek and I was totally exhausted and tired. I just couldn't take the trail and rested almost 40 minutes. But then as my team had reached up I needed to walk to them instead of waiting for the other group to join and waste my time and the purpose of this visit. I walked almost another hour to reach the top of fort. It was just 11:30 am and it felt someone has burnt us on charcoal. The heat was unbearable and my group had almost completed 3 bags of waste and garbage. I joined them and we were just walking around to find garbage in most corners. The dried bushes which were burnt and with it we also found the non-degradable waste charred. There is ignorance as we just don’t know how polluting it is to the environment. But we even collected half burnt thrash. Sharath also found cooked Maggie kept inside the shiv temple. I was bit shaken as I thought how one could think to make a place of worship filthy. I feel that most of the time the littering habit comes in place where there is no one to maintain or question you and that give a way to escape. So anybody who thinks has the right to trek and throw Garbage and walk down to put their Pictures on Facebook and how cool they are, think again what mistakes have you done. While aligning we crossed a other trekkers who were leaving and they had carried their garbage back. Felt good that as we 18, there were 18 others like us. And that gave immense joy to see most of think that we shouldn't be littering.

Once I happened to see a painting, drawn by a 6 year old neighbor. He had returned from some family vacation and so put his memories on the picture. He had depicted a landscape. The picture was bit confusing for me as I could see something which was not understandable. He had painted the mountains and on the mountains he put some marks with many different shapes and in many color. I asked him what these marks on the mountain depict. He started with the color purple as wrapper of Cadbury, and he had almost put many such details on the mountain. I understood he was talking about “Garbage”. But he thought that is the way mountain look. I felt that uncleanliness has gone to Indians mind so much that we are accepting the way it is.  
Kiran, Chaitanya, Padma, Sharath, Ritu and others had almost cleaned up the vicinity of the temple. I could find the alcohol cans, bottle, glass pieces, wrappers and all kind of garbage which we find in city streets. Pulling out wrappers and snacks cover stuck beneath the thorny bush was tedious task. We had almost bruised our hands to get the corners and cleaned. Either the bottles were hidden or there were broken pieces of glasses. Kiran from our team had worked hardest to collect every trash in the vicinity. Almost 2 hours we collected around 7-8 bags of garbage segregated as Plastic, Metal, Paper, Glass Bottles. 

Chaitanya and Kiran went for a round to check if anything could be found for one last time. Tying the gunny bags carefully, we started to align after 12 pm. The other group had almost reached the top. As we walked down we collected another bag of plastic and bottles. We were already tired and lifting another bag and walking down the hill is another task.  Yes of course when pictures were taken we all smiled. It took around 1 and half hour to come down the trek and I could see the dogs barking at us we resembled the rag pickers.

Down the hill Virander & Channa had already arranged for our lunch. We washed our hands and first thing we did was had our lunch. This was 1:30 pm and the group also had started coming down with few more bags of garbage. Once the other group completed their lunch we had a small introduction and feedback session. We 18 trekker had just one thought in mind that we would do our best to bring out awareness about cleanliness. We 18 had cleaned up a hill and that was a victory that was more than India wining India – Pakistan world cup quarter final match. Yes indeed we left the match and choose the garbage as we find the importance to see the nature in its natural form.  

To add up I would say that when you litter, it is not just thrash but You Throw Your Respect on The Street. We have seen foreign country and how they keep their country clean. Once talking to a friend on the same, he promptly replied they have money and so can manage the cleaning and I totally disagree. They have right perspective to do things. They have rights to question people who litter unlike India. They can stop people from doing wrong. People are aware of waste management and consequences of filth and dirt. Moreover they love cleanliness. I have never seen an Indian in any other foreign country littering because other country have rules and strict laws to curb such unsocial habits. We join hands and plead “Bhai khachra mat fekho” and other country you just litter somewhere, either you would end up paying fine or serving social punishment. My country fellow person will answer you “Tera kya Jaata hai” Or “Tere Par Fekha hai Kya”. I have been through many situations where even my friends and colleague were terrible to handle. 

Yes indeed we don’t love cleanliness and that’s the reason we expect that someone will clean our filth and accept that this is India. Well I am sorry guys I don’t want others to expect that others are going to clean your garbage and I deny to accept that India will not change.  My expectation is equal and I deserve to live in a cleaner environment. The Swaach Bharat mission will never see the results if we don’t think why there is so much of Aswaachata (Filth) in India. We need to question others why are you littering. Before that, one has to ask oneself why I do so?

I have seen Swaach Bharat as a campaign that we should go clean the garbage. But I think there should be a new campaign saying that “YOU CANT KEEP INDIA UNCLEAN”.

I am still very positive to say that making people aware and channelizing each person to join the waste management cycle is utmost important. Adding here the waste that we collected was sent to the Doddaballapura garbage recycle plant.  

We 18 who had assembled here at Makalidurga are the one who believes nature to remain undisturbed and in its natural form, will surely again assemble to clean another place. Thanks to the entire 17 member who participate and worked in their strength to bring up this event successfully. I would suggest to make slogan “STOP LITTERING” than “Swaach Bharat” as once you stop littering you would only see clean India not just on hills, streets but everywhere.

I wish one day when such clean up event come up and we find no Garbage on any hills, that day would I truly say, that somewhere we have attained “Humanity”. I would like to say Cleanliness is not Just Godliness but also Humanly. Statistics shows in India there is just 25% people who follow rules to keep India clean, then the remaining 75% need to start thinking that it’s good to be Human than Litterers.
Well of course we had our fun moment when we posed in front of Thar jeep ( Coutesy Padma) and garbage bags ( Courtesy- Litterers)  . We shared the joy of standing together for a noble coz what else you need to spent a day pass by. 

To all the 18 Nurtures in the group , Virander, Channabasappa, Chaitanya, Vikram, Sonali, Venkatesh, Sanjay, Ashish, Sudha, Anil, Madhuri, Brajesh, Padma, Kiran, Sharath, Ritu, and Ikshit. Thank you all. 

Written By     : Sunita Nair
Organized By : Virander & Channa
Date of event : 15th Feb, 2015
Place              : Makalidurga
Pictures          : BTC FB Page
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