Bengaluru: Many conservancy workers are not bothered to keep the city clean though they are assigned
to do that. Most of us either neglect or postpone to keep our surroundings clean. Here is a youth who
believes not only in preaching but also practicing. He will not hesitate to extend his hand to ensure
cleanliness in any part of Bengaluru.
He is Anirudh Dutt embarked on a mission of keeping the city clean. It all began in 2013 when Dutt had
developed a unique habit – hunting for blackspots in the city and making efforts to beautify those spots.
After conducting a survey on blackspots in the city for two months, Dutt succeeded in convincing his five
friends to join hands with him. He started Let’s be the Change (LBTC) on WhatsApp. He was just 19 years
and studying engineering at Jyothi Institute of Technology off Kanakapura Road when this initiative
became a reality.
Not a bed of roses
Though Anirudh Dutt succeeded in convincing his friends to join hands with him, it was not an easy task
to convince his parents. Hailing from a middle-class family, Dutt had to struggle a lot to get a green
signal from his parents while his elder sister appreciated his noble intention.
“My parents were worried about me that there is no future to my dream and nobody will respect my
work. They wanted me to concentrate on my studies. After seeing the response to my work on KR Road,
my parents began motivating me to do more,’’ he said.
For Anirudh Dutt, KR Road will always remain special because it was the first Cleanathon drive that
made him to extend it to other areas in the city.
“Beautifying the blackspot on K R Road was a special one because that was the first place we cleaned
with trial and error method. It was a new concept and it was great to see the spot clean,” Dutt said.
After the first trial and error effort, there was no looking back for him. Till now, he, along with other
volunteers, conducted 250 Cleanathons in 98 wards out of the 198 wards in the city. He conducts three
cleanathons every month.
“It was my childhood dream to give back something to society. I had seen a lot of people study here,
grow up here, move to other countries and talk bad about my city. So, I wanted to bring a change to
show them,” he said.
Let’s be the Change
The garbage disposal management in the city has become a major cause of concern for the citizens as
the city produces 3,000 to 5,000 tonnes of garbage every day. With this concern, Anirudh started his
weekend activity to clean garbage in and around the city which eventually led to the foundation of his
organization Let’s be the Change (LBTC) which aims to mobilize citizens to take part in cleaning their
own neighborhood for cleaner and greener Bengaluru.
The LBTC is a non-profitable organization. It seeks donation and organizes fund raisers to manage its
logistics. Its volunteers work with local corporators and BBMP officials to build LBTC network. Among
198 wards of the city, 94 wards have the LBTC volunteers. It has collaborated with some MNCs, schools,
colleges and with Namma Bengaluru Foundation (NBF).
A similar initiative has been launched in Chennai to beautify black spots in the city known as a hub of
manufacturing and automobiles.
The Cleaning Process
The black spots that LBTC marks to clean are either chosen by Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike
(BBMP) officials or requests from the residents of the city. The BBMP also assigns conservancy workers
to join hands with the LBTC.
“The BBMP not only supports our initiative but also helps us. Now me and my team meet the BBMP
Commissioner to discuss how we can beautify blackspots in the city,” Dutt said.
He said the LBTC volunteers identify the blackspots when they come across such spots. “We discuss
about it and inform the BBMP authorities about the requirements and involve the localities to get it
done,” he said
He said the LBTC volunteers visit schools and colleges to create awareness among the students on the
importance of keeping the city clean,” he said.
LBTC not only takes care to provide the necessary equipment to protect the volunteers while cleaning
garbage but also ensures to keep them connected to music. Vasu Dixit’s musical band played some
inspiring and motivational songs to encourage the volunteers during the cleanathon.
“Vasu Dixit is a good friend of mine and when he heard about our initiative, he came forward to be a
part of LBTC’s cleanathon and played music for us to encourage and entertain the tired volunteers while
clearing garbage,” he said.
At present LBTC works in Bengaluru only, but it has plans to extend across Karnataka and other states
soon. Most of the LBTC’s activities include more of manpower. The lack of citizens’ involvement
becomes a hurdle.
“After most of cleanathons, we connect our volunteers to the BBMP to make sure the place isn’t littered
again. Though most residents are least bothered about waste, and tend not only to blame other parties
but us as well, saying that we young people don’t have any right to guide them who are elder to us on
how to keep their neighborhood clean. We can say that educating the younger bunch has a lasting
impact,” he said.
The LBTC have conducted Clay Ganapathy making workshop this year during Ganesha festival.
“In 2016 more than 1,000 people made their own Ganapathy idols and worshiped them. This year, we
have conducted 25 workshops to encourage 2,500 people to make their own Ganapathy idols,” he adds.
Anirudh has been awarded the national ‘Yuva Chetna’ award by Youth for Seva.
“The experience with these awards has been tremendous. I have been able to reach out to more people
and inspire them. Socialising with a lot of other major players in this field is a plus point,” he signs off
with a smile.