Swachh Bharat Indeed! Tourists Made to Return 80Km to Kodagu to Pick Up Their Trash


Swachh Bharat Indeed! Tourists Made to Return 80Km to Kodagu to Pick Up Their Trash

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

A pair of travellers in Karnataka learned the hard way that littering can cost you. Last Friday, two men who were travelling to Madikeri from Kodagu ended up in the unenviable position of having to double back 80 kilometres in order to clean up the trash that they had left behind them. While driving on the highway, the two litterers apparently threw out empty pizza boxes from their car. Unfortunately for them, the boxes contained the bills, which also mentioned one of their phone numbers. This provided a link between the litter and the litterers, who were eventually tracked down and made to return to Kodagu to pick up the trash.

Madetira Thimmaiah, General Secretary of Kodagu Tourism Association, was the one who spotted the pizza boxes by the side of the road. Just days earlier, he and other members of the Kadagadalu gram panchayat had conducted a clean-up drive in the area to restore its natural beauty. So when he spotted the pizza boxes, he had to investigate further. “I decided to open up the packet and luckily found a bill which had the person’s phone number. I called up the person and requested him to return to the spot and pick up the waste,” he said while speaking to Bangalore Mirror.

Thimmaiah’s first call to the litterers was not enough to convince them to return. Even a local police inspector’s phone call did not have the desired effect. It was only when the offenders’ phone number made its way to social media and they started receiving multiple calls from angered locals that they decided to come back and right their wrong. Meanwhile, the people who got the litterers to express contrition for their actions were in for rounds of effusive praise on social media.

Public littering is a widespread malaise in all Indian towns and cities, but steps like the ones in Karnataka will help in curbing the spread of this practise.