Here is another way that common man can make difference to the society. Few citizens took initiative to clean a garden near Ibblur lake, Bangalore. This helped in keeping surroundings clean, save environment and also helped in curbing diseases. Read on to find about their preparations, guidelines and accomplishments.

Bangalore is city of lakes and gardens and especially, Bellandur and Ibblur area is surrounded by 2 lakes, Bellandur lake and Ibblur lake (villages are also of the same name). Ibblur lake also has adjacent beautiful garden which was not very well maintained. Suncity Senior Citizen Club, whose members use the garden daily, readily took up the job for its upkeep. Many other residents of nearby communities, apartments represented by Bellandur Ibblur Residents Welfare Association (BIRWA) also joined to promote, campaign and initiate citizen actions for civic and community activities. They all together have taken many initiatives, like, planting trees on side of the roads, providing adequate lighting on roads, fencing of lake, cleaning of garden/roads etc.

It was decided to initiate work on these activities by cleaning the garden near Ibblur lake on one of the Saturday, 21-Feb-09 in the morning hours. BIRWA members had their initial meetings to chalk out the plan and each volunteer agreed to share load of each other. We listed our objectives and prepared detailed guidelines to have this drive organized in well manner. We all did some publicity, like, communication through yahoogroups, pasting posters in each block, words of mouth etc in our apartments.

Two major objectives were decided and communicated:

  1. Clean the garden area of all the trash. Accumulate the trash in the gunny bags and leave it at designated dumping place.
  2. Remove Congress Grass (Parthenium) weed after watering them to loosen the roots. Collect the weeds in bags in dumping places.
Following guidelines were agreed upon and communicated:
  1. Assemble at the Main Entrance of Garden at 9.00 AM
  2. Entire area was divided into 3 zones. Water body EXCLUDED. Each zone will have one “dumping post” where all collected waste could be placed for eventual clearance.
  3. Children should work in groups or with their parents, under close supervision.
  4. Shore line will be cleaned only by adults.
  5. Volunteers and school children participating are requested to bring along Drinking water in bottles, Gloves, Picking equipment like bamboo sticks and rakes, Large Plastic bags with tie string, A sturdy bucket that can be easily carried when filled  and  a mug (to be carried back by their owners)
  6. Recommended wear:  shoes, cap and a spirit of can-do.
  7. Removal of Congress Grass (Parthenium) : This is one of the ten worst weeds in world and cause of respiratory problems. To remove the Congress Grass – volunteers will fetch water in the bucket from a water tanker and soak the roots of plant. After few minutes pull out the plant from its roots by gently tugging at the base until it is free.
  8. Other precaution. Before picking up trash from heavy vegetation – poke the area with stick to ensure it is safe to access.
  9. Do not panic in case of snakes as we have arranged for snake-catcher
 
Following arrangements were accomplished by volunteers:
  1. Snake catcher as few residents feared that sudden appearance of them might create panic.
  2. Drinking water
  3. Water tank to loosen the roots of congress grass (Parthenium)
  4. Empty truck to take away the trash
  5. Card boards with directions and instructions, like Pls keep trash here etc
  6. About 150 Gloves to maintain hygiene and keep one away from allergies
  7. Equipments, like, bamboo sticks, rakes, khurpis etc
  8. Large gunny bags to store the trash
  9. Few buckets, mugs to pour water on congress grass
  10. Few gardeners who can help/guide other volunteers
On the day, about 50 residents turned up and cleaned one full load of truck and I could see a sense of satisfaction on their faces to accomplish something for their community. Kudos to senior citizens (Mr Ashok Dubey, Mr Deba Bardhan with many others) and BIRWA members (Mr Sunil Kand, Mr Lalit Sawhney with many others) for their spirit of community service.
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