Cleanliness is next to Godliness. Alas! Things are often different when it comes to putting this into practice.
In 2014 when our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi started Swachh Bharat Abhiyan on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, he had an aim, to make every region of India free of open defecation, be it rural or urban. Although, this campaign’s main objective is to encourage the habit of cleanliness and maintenance of hygiene at all public and private places.
This campaign of cleanliness is not being conducted only to gain energy among the people but also to bring in a sweeping change for the betterment of our society.
The saddest part is that people still throw garbage on road and they feel offended when someone points out their habit. This is the reason why some beautiful picnic spots are now looking like a dump-yard.
Dimna, one of the most beautiful picnic spots of Steel City, is also in the same league. People visit there, spend some quality time, enjoy great moments but after that, they leave the place like if it’s a dump-yard and not a picnic spot. They throw their garbage here and there making its beauty being faded away day by day.
In an exclusive interview with the Green Caps & one of its founding members Amit Sinha, we got the privilege to understand their work style and their efforts in making Dimna beautiful again.
Green Caps! Anything Specific?
On 14 Sept 2020, I visited Dimna for the very first time. I’ve heard so much about this place & about its beauty before. But what I saw there literally blew my mind away. I couldn’t believe that Jamshedpur’s most famous tourist place, its single major source of water supply was looking like a garbage can, and the worst part is, no one really cares. Then I decided to take responsibility, to make Dimna clean and green again. Few members then joined me at that very early stage. During our cleaning drives, we felt the need for dustbins, then we went to JUSCO. They felt that our work is very impressive, so they decided to help us by placing dustbins there and managing it throughout the year.
They are the ones, who suggested us to keep a name to represent our group and at that very moment “Green Caps” clicked in my mind and suprisingly all of my teammates agreed on this. That’s how this cleaning group became Green Caps, where Green symbolises the natural beauty & the pureness of the nature, and Green Caps are the people who believes in pureness and keeping the beauty of nature alive.
Who All Joined Hands Early & Why Dimna?
I and my friend Umang Jhunjhunwala had started this formally, we started posting about the initiative on social media. From there we got two more people joining us, one of them is my senior who is also a teacher in Hill Top School, her name is Poonam Sharma other person is Poonam’s friend whose name is Saloni. During our cleaning drive, getting impressed by our work at the cleaning site, Akhil, our 5th founding member joined us.
As I mentioned earlier I visited Dimna for the very first time and when I saw the mess there, I decided to clean that place because I always try to involve myself in such social activities which are helping society in a very good manner.
How Far You Have Come? Let’s Jump To Some Data & Insights.
We are a family of around 80-90 people and still counting. If people keep supporting us in the same manner, I can hope for a great future ahead.
If I talk about achievements, we had collected and cleared around 6500 liters of garbage, including 12000 alcohol bottles & cans. We have cleaned the entire area of Dimna, almost 8-9 times till now.
We made a strategy during this Durga Puja, we would not let anyone throw anything in the water body and we were almost successful in it if we leave a few people aside. But nevertheless, we brought those things back from the water and disposed those items. We even returned some of the statues to the statue makers, so they can reuse it.
Bins, Boards, Banners & Equipments. How You Are Managing Funds?
From the beginning, till now, we are spending from our own pockets, yes we have raised a fundraiser through Milap of ₹26000 which is still mostly unused and we’re planning to make the correct use of it. But yes most of the time we spend from our own pockets.
“If I gave you an estimate we almost spent over ₹20000 on things like banners, posters, garbage bags, equipment, hand gloves, etc.”, said Amit.
Even though the majority of us are earning, so we can spend from our pockets, but it’s not sustainable and can’t be a long term plan. Thus we tell people to throw garbage in Dustbins only because clearing a dustbin is relatively easy rather than collecting the garbage. It needs extra resources, manpower, money to collect, and dispose of the litter.
JUSCO Officials, Ex-Army Officers & Many Other Organizations Praised Your Work. How Does That Feel?
It’s a very proud moment and feels nice when such big organizations are backing you and supporting your work. We have collaborated with many organizations like JAWS (Jharkhand Animal Welfare Society), ZFI (Zomato Feeding India), JAI HO (Organization of Ex-Army Officers) and JUSCO as well. But as you know, all of them have their own responsibilities, they can not help us on day to day basis, but at least they’ve joined us and spreading the message, “Keeping our surroundings clean is not our job but is a responsibility as a society and human being.” Although, all the organizations are in our touch, if there would be any special occasion they all will definitely join & help us.
We are expecting better responses from people as well because Jamshedpur, a population, whose average literacy rate is 86.91% should be more careful towards throwing waste & garbage in the dustbins.
As I mentioned earlier we are cleaning Dimna for more than 60 days now but we are still not getting the type of support from people we are expecting.
It’s a good thing that our team is very self-motivated but people should also understand their responsibilities.
Future Projections & Plans? What if Administration & Government Supports You With Funds etc?
Yeah definitely, if we get their support we would love to spread this message, we have another team at Ghatshila as well, who is working with the same mission and vision. If we get funds we will take strong steps and act more professionally by deploying extra guards at the place, we would add bigger billboards, expand our team to serve even more places. We could also add a small parking fee during Picnic season and that money would be used for planting trees and cleaning drives. We could also add more small dustbins & garbage bags during picnic season.
For the city, we want to run a campaign through schools & educational institutions, where we will make people aware of waste segregation. A large amount of money is wasted only in segregation but if it’s done properly from the very first stage, a lot of money can be saved and used for better purposes.
How People Can Join You?
People can join us by filling up a Google Form, also if they want they can DM us on Facebook or Instagram, we will exchange numbers and add them to our WhatsApp group. Well, frankly speaking, two or three people join us every second day.
“Wherever we are, we must think that what would be the results of our action, throwing garbage is easy but cleaning it, is a tough job.
This city is ours, its responsibility is ours, we can’t rely on anyone for cleaning our mess, and most importantly, if we are capable of doing something we shouldn’t rely on anyone else for that, that’s my only message for everyone.”, said Amit Sinha, Co-Founder, Green Caps