J Lakshmi Narayan
For 3 Years Now, The Chennai Folks Have Been Cleaning the Streets for Free!
The mountains of garbage festering on the streets of India are not just an eyesore but also an open breeding ground for deadly diseases. Sadly, this is a common sight in many economically weak neighbourhoods in cities, because they are more often than not ignored by municipal bodies and workers.
What is worse is that even the people living in such neighbourhoods have become used to being surrounded by waste, and existing in the extremely unsanitary environment, because they feel that there isn’t much that can be done on their part.
However, J Lakshmi Narayan, who has been working in the housekeeping department at Mayor Ramanathan Hall, MRC Nagar for over a decade, was always bothered with the sight of a resident of Mylapore’s Veerabadran Street. Lakshmi Narayan was drawn to the cause of social work and often took up cleaning activities like burying the corpses of street animals and birds during his teenage days—something which typically fails to elicit any reaction from most people. He is trash piling up on the streets of Chennai.
A true altruist, Lakshmi Narayan also helps out the local traffic police in busy areas like Mambalam and Koyembedu by volunteering to manage the ongoing influx of traffic and has been doing so for the past 15 years.
“I was quite content with the little difference that I was making without any publicity. But the issue of the garbage-strewn streets kept gnawing at me, and I wanted to do something to change the situation,” says Lakshmi Narayan to The Better India. Lakshmi Narayan believes that the effort to tackle the never-ending crisis of waste has to begin from one’s own home and only then can it be extended anywhere beyond.