Successful ALMs: The ALM of Little Gibbs Roads 1,2, & 3

 

The concept of the ALM is perhaps the most effective method of giving a voice to citizens, yet it can only be a success if the citizens choose to act. This is the first in a series of articles which will highlight the success stories of ordinary citizens who used an ALM as a tool to build better lives, for themselves and their neighbourhood.

 

In April 2000, the ALM of Little Gibbs Road 1, 2, and 3 in Malabar Hill, was initiated by eight women, including Indrani Malkani and Chella Chidambaram.

 

They started the ALM as a response to the call for a “Zero Garbage Malabar Hill”, given by the then Municipal Commissioner Mr N Nalinakshan, at the nearby Kamala Nehru Park. They along with many other residents of the neighbourhood, had grown tired of having to see two large overflowing garbage heaps as they travelled along their road every day.

 

The concept of the ALM, and in particular its focus on waste segregation and management, stuck a chord with these women, who saw it as a way of giving back to their neighbourhood and make it a cleaner and healthier place for their children.

 

One of the first activities taken up by the ALM, as mandated in the “ALM Pledge”, was that of garbage segregation and the separate collection of Dry & Wet waste from the area. Despite initially facing reluctance and opposition from some residents, the ALM managed to get everybody on boardthrough a sustained campaign for segregation in the locality and byadopting an attitude of partnership, rather than confrontation, with their local Municipal Ward Office – D Ward.

 

The ALM was instrumental in starting the MCGM’s Integrated Relay Transport System of segregated waste collection in November 2000. The success of this project prompted the MCGM to take this system and execute it in other areas as well.

 

As the ALM began to successfully tackle various challenges and roadblocks, they interacted with many other ALMs and found that while many of the challenges they faced were the same, some ALMs were more interested in getting into confrontations with their local ward offices rather than solve problems, which went against the core concept of ALM’s, i.e. working in the spirit of partnership.

 

Therefore, to strengthen the concept of the working partnership between the Municipality and the ALMs and to ensure the uniform implementation of the concept of ALMs, Mrs Malkani compiled and drafted an ALM Manual document at the invitation of the MCGM. This document is now in the public domain and is being used by the MCGM towards better working of ALMs.

 

One of the great successes of the ALM has been to integrate various stakeholders of the locality, including Hawkers, Rag Pickers, and municipal workers, along with residents, and their elected representatives.

 

Members of the ALM realised that regular interaction with the local Police Station was important to ensure the security and safety of the residents of the area. A Security Audit by the local police has also being carried out for this purpose.

 

Among the other issues that the ALM tackled was the increasing menace of mosquitoes, especially during the monsoon season. Not taking the issue lightly, they approached Pest Control of India (PCI) to help rid the locality of these pests. PCI visitedthe area under the ALM along with the Ward Office, checked the premises of various buildings, conducted a first of its kind ‘Photo Audit’, and informed all residents of the preventive measures to be taken. PCI also handed over various informative posters and pamphlets for distribution within societies.

 

Furthermore, the services of Pest Control of India (PCI) were offered for free, for the visits and inspections, as well as the reports and materials for distribution.

 

The ALM then requested PCI to loan their “larvae site spray machines” to the D Ward Office of the MCGM to help keep the breeding of mosquitoes in the area to a minimum, as PCI machines are the most effective in destroying mosquito larvae.

 

Members of the ALM were pleased as PCI readily agreed to this and a large number of these spray machines have been loaned to D Ward and are being effectively used.Subsequently, a follow up audit is being conducted before the monsoon every year by the Ward Office.

 

To further beautify the area, a line of Laburnum trees were planted along a footpath, extending from the post office to the nearby All Saint’s Church. This as well as other alcoves adopted by various buildings in the area have helped Little Gibbs Road become one of the greenest in the locality. Two of the alcoves have been constructed using bricks made out of garbage, a technology developed by the MCGM.

 

The guiding Principle of the ALM has been to work in Partnership with the Statutory Authorities and Elected Representatives, integrating all stakeholders. In this way, the ALM of Little Gibbs Roads – 1, 2 & 3, has focused on creating awareness towards Civic Rights and Obligations which cover the basic fundamental principles of Cleanliness & Hygiene and preserving the natural flora and fauna of their locality.

 

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