A group of street vendors doing their business along the Marina beach in Chennai, have resumed their one-time ritual of picking up waste on a stretch of the shore for the last three weeks. They pick up waste from near the corporation swimming pool until the labour statue, The New Indian Express reported.
“This had been a weekly ritual where a group of us (vendors) assemble every Monday before 9 am and pick up waste along the beach. We had stopped the practice for around three years. Now, we are taking it up once again,” said Sekaran, National Association of Street Vendors of India.
On Monday, March 5, a group of as many as 50 Chennai street vendors gathered on the beach to pick up waste. The initiative by these vendors has remained largely unknown.
However, some sections of the population have earlier accused them of polluting the beach and dirtying it.
“Around six to seven years earlier, on days that I could not come to pick up waste, I had even sent my father in my place. Now, he’s no more. Today, there is a growing perception that we do not keep the beach clean and litter it. So, we have decided to resume the practice,” said Sekaran.
They said that there is always room for help while Urbaser SA Sumeet staff is cleaning the beach.
“They clean the beach up well everyday. But this is a place where people visit often, especially in the mornings. So, it is often prone to littering. So, we thought what we do may be of help to the staff cleaning the garbage on a daily basis,” said Subash Chandran, another vendor.
“This is where we have been doing business for so long — some of us for over 10-15 years. We want it to be clean just as anyone else in the city would want it to be,” he added.
Around fifty to hundred people, all vendors, usually gather for the morning activity. More people have been encouraged to join them, they said.