Changanassery: Be the change you seek. With this as his mantra, Mathews Mukkadan and his green warriors in the Changanassery town near Kottayam district in Kerala, work every single day to clean up the residential society they stay in. Following his footsteps are now 18 more colonies in the town.
Armed with brooms and sickles, they are ready to clean up the place. Two years back, when Mukkadan started the clean-up act, he was much laughed at.
Says Mukkadan, President, Snehatheerom Residents Association, "In the past two years, there has been no cases of dengue fever or communicable diseases here. Because the area is neat and clean. Earlier, we didn't even know our neighbours but now we know everybody living here."
Mukkadan and his set of green warriors have proved that only a bit of hardwork and thoughtfulness is required to build and maintain a clean, green environment. The idea that germinated at his home spread to the colony and is now being replicated in 18 such resident colonies across the Changanassery town.
In 2010, Mukkadan set up a biogas plant on his premises, and invited his neighbours to deposit their degradable kitchen waste. The plant gives 2-3 hours of gas for cooking every single day. Other households are following the waste disposal-at-source model.
Smitha Jayakumar, Chairperson of the Changanassery Municipality, says, "Usually all resident associations are too busy blaming the local bodies for not doing their work. But by taking charge of their neighbourhood, Snehatheerom has become a role model colony."
Mukkadan's initiative comes at a time when the government is grappling with the waste management crisis. And he continues to spread the green mantra until his home town is declared as the first clean town in India!