Using Christmas as a theme, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) staff from the Solid Waste Management (SWM) and a few volunteers from local NGOs are posing as Santa Claus to create awareness about cleanliness in the Parel and Sewri areas.
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Officials from the F South Ward said the attempt was to convince people not to litter on the road or other public places. The initiative, which began on December 20, will go on till December 30. Seven staffers are posing as Santa Claus and are visiting popular and crowded spots in the Parel and Sewri areas. Of the seven, five persons are from an NGO working under Swachh Mumbai Prabodhan Abhiyaan in the ward.
“We go the places such as markets, hospital areas, railway station areas, schools and colleges with others. We tell them that we are their Santa Claus who has come with a message about cleanliness. We ask them to read out a message of cleanliness with us,” said Prashant Rajguru, a labourer from F South ward, one of the volunteers playing Santa Claus.
Prashant said the people were appreciating the effort and pledging they would not litter. “We tell them not to throw any garbage or waste material on the road or in open spaces. We tell them to consider this city like your home. Then, we give them chocolates and ask them to throw wrappers in the dustbin only,” he added.
Civic officials said public awareness was required to make the city clean. “We strongly feel that public participation is must for it. Rather than imposing a fine for littering on the road or open spaces, we felt we should use innovative method like this. We are getting positive response to it,” said Vishwas Mote, Assistant Municipal Commissioner of F South Ward, who is instrumental in implementing the idea.
“We plan to add three more people in the next two days. We need a little discipline from the people to make the city clean. And, it will not happen without public participation,” added Mote.
Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta has also appreciated the initiative and has asked officials of other wards to implement it across the city.