Tur Dal in return for a clean Dharavi – Contribute to cleanliness drive

Shyam, a local resident who works with URBZ, an urban studies research organization has started a cleanliness drive in his neighbourhood Subhash Nagar in Dharavi. The drive funded by Urbz’ founding member Geeta Mehta has spread to six lanes covering about a hundred houses. By giving incentives like food items to the locals, the duo hopes to spread this cleanliness drive across Dharavi.




The methodology is very simple. Each house has to maintain the area outside its house and keep it clean from any dry or wet waste. Every house was advised to keep a dustbin which wasn’t part of their houses earlier. The BMC cleaner comes every morning to collect the waste from the bins. The lane which is the cleanest at any given time of the day for a continuous one month gets free 1 kg tur dal (yellow lentil) per house in return. At the moment six lanes are competing for this prize and the team hopes to spread it to the nearby lanes within a month’s time.


However, for an outsider the lane might not come across as clean and hygienic. This is because of the narrow open drains that flow in each of these lanes. These drains get clogged every morning when activities like bathing, washing clothes and utensils takes place. The residents clean up the garbage in these drains and throw it in the bin but water is constantly flowing in them which brings filth from nearby lanes outside their houses. Y Devasagayam, a resident in one of these lanes came up with a simple solution to maintain the constant clean flow of water outside his house. He has inserted two small grills in the drain on both sides of his house door. This prevents solid waste from gathering outside his house. He suggested that if more such grills are inserted at regular intervals, especially at points where garbage disposal is more, the drains could also be constantly clean.


Madhuri Vishkarma, another resident of the lanewho once received the prize of the lentils said, “Dal and other food items should be given more regularly and at fortnightly basis to keep the momentum going. When people realize that they will not get it next month as they got it recently, they take less interest in keeping the lanes clean.”


Shyam who is handling and supervising this drive said, “Initially there were fights among women in the same lane who scolded their neighbours who threw garbage outside but now most people don’t throw and look forward to the free food which they might get in return. We first thought of giving mobile recharge coupons or other household goods but the residents preferred food over anything else. Dal, Rice is something every house needs and so we decided to stick to this as incentive. The cost of providing one lane with dal is about Rs 2000/-. We would love to get more lanes involved in this drive for which we need more money and volunteers.”


To contribute to the cleanliness drive in cash, kind or time contact us on admin@dharavimarket.com or write to Mrs Geeta Mehta directly on mehta@gol.com