MOST Clearing House Best Practices This Best Practice is one of the
Best Practices for Human Settlements
presented in the MOST Clearing House
Best Practices Database.

Community Participation for Clean Surroundings - EXNORA
India

Keyword: Community Participation & Urban Governance

Background

EXNORA International is a broad based voluntary, Non Governmental organisation. It has created wide spread environmental and civic awareness by promoting community/street directly involved in a voluntary effort in waste collection, removal, recycling and keeping their environment clean and green. The local units of EXNORA have made innovations to this scheme by adopting different methods of disposal, recycling, reuse and composting of waste, which reflects initiative and a conscious decision making process. The entire scheme is managed by the residents of each street/community. This sense of involvement in community work gives great satisfaction to all the participants.


Narrative

EXNORA International started off as a club of concerned citizens who were worried about the deteriorating cleanliness of Madras. Some of the founding members had seen clean streets abroad and were determined to try and make the streets of Madras as clean. The primary or golden objective of EXNORA was to generate ideas. As the acronym suggests, these ideas were to be EXcellent NOvel and RAdical (EXNORA), the second objective was to create civic and environmental awareness among the citizens. And finally, EXNORA wanted to provide a service to the public, which would turn these excellent novel and radical ideas into practice.

It is EXNORA's last objective of practical dimension, which offers insight to the prospects of decentralising the provision of civic services to NGOs/private sector. When the Corporation chose to experiment with hydrocontainers at Kamaraj Avenue. Adyar, Madras, EXNORA got involved in the collection of garbage. For the Corporation's experiment to be successful garbage would have to be placed directly into the hydrocontainers so that Corporation workers could later mount them directly on trucks. These hydrocontainers were made available at the end of every street so that the garbage could be dumped into it directly and not strewn in and around the dustbins. From here the containers would be hauled onto the Corporation trucks and taken to the dumping sites. The residents found it inconvenient to carry the garbage from their respective houses to the end of the streets for disposal. It was here that EXNORA stepped into provide the practical alternative. The ragpicker was responsible for much of the mess on the road so getting his co-operation would not only eliminate this problem but would also assure the ragpickers of a source of income. Instead of rummaging through Corporation bins, the ragpicker was officially designated the "Street Beautifier". EXNORA took a loan from a bank to buy a tricycle cart and also paid the street beautifier a monthly salary of 650 rupees. The street beautifier would come and collect the garbage every morning at 8.00 a.m. and thereafter sweep the street. In return, every household at Kamaraj Avenue contributed 10 rupees per month towards the salary of the street beautifier.

The Civic EXNORA movement was thus born from this experiment. After successfully working hand in hand with the Corporation at Kamaraj Avenue, Adyar, EXNORA has used this model to promote the idea of community involvement in collection and transportation of garbage. The success of a Kamaraj Avenue illustrated two important points, that the co-operation of the public is desirable and that it is possible to work hand in hand with the ragpicker.

The principle of community involvement has spread through the Civic EXNORA movement. In Madras city, between 900-950 civic EXNORAs are actively functioning today. On an average, each Civic EXNORA comprises 70-75 families, which varies from area to area and street to street. Each Civic EXNORA has its own committees, comprising of a President, Vice President, Secretary, Joint Secretary and Treasurer, which manages its own finances as well as administration. Household contributions vary from one rupee to twenty rupees. The garbage collected is segregated and all the reusable materials are sold to scrap dealers by the street beautifier for recycling. This augments the street beautifier's salary. The organic wastes from several streets is taken to a common collection point from where the municipal authorities transport to the dumping yards. In this process, the work of municipal authorities is reduced, since the number of collection points are less.


Impact

18 percent of garbage of Madras city is collected per day
1500 jobs created


Sustainability

The adverse effects of the deteriorating environment on the health and hygiene of the common man towards these issues were a challenge that the Exnorans were ready to tackle. The basic premise with which Exnora began its operations was that community participation at all levels of functioning was essential to make their work a success. Exnorans work hand in hand with the governmental bodies and help supplement the latter's work rather than work in isolation. The sustainability of Exnora's work is very clear from the various case studies. The different case studies help to highlight that EXNORA has been successful in encouraging the people to act on their own initiative towards creating any required change.

The principle of community involvement has spread through the Civic EXNORA movement. As of 1995, there are nearly 900 Civic EXNORAs actively functioning at Madras. The advent of Civic Exnoras has led to a more effective system of garbage collection and disposal. Garbage is being collected and disposed in a more orgnaised manner by households. Greater awareness has been generated among the communities about the need for maintaining a systematic method for garbage clearance and removal. As a result, households in general are taking a more active role in keeping their surroundings clean. EXNORA is also concerned with other special and environmental issues. Therefore is initiated or supported activities towards creating a clean and green environment for all.

Though the Civic EXNORAs have responded well to tackle local community needs, there is still room for improvement. Everyone needs to get involved, everyone's interests have to be determined so that the community based EXNORAs can strive to meet them. The other factor, which must be kept in mind is to ensure the effectiveness of local institutions in a municipal set up such as Madras and an interface between the citizens and the Corporation. It is important that EXNORA provides its services. But for its efforts to bring about meaningful social change, it is necessary that these efforts are officially recognised. The provision of urban services such as garbage collection and disposal by NGOs should become part of any strategy aimed at delivering services to the citizens of Madras and especially the urban poor. Groups such as EXNORA should be more directly involved in the Municipal Corporation's efforts.


Indicators

The impact of the project: Public participation

The sustainability of the project: Regular garbage collection

The success of the project: Clean Environment


Contact

    Mr. MB Nirmal, Chairman EXNORA Internat
    42, Giriappa Road, T Nagar
    Madras
    Tamil Nadu
    India
    600 017
    828 3366, 828 3377

Sponsor

    EXNORA International, Madras
    Mr. MB Nirmal, Chairman EXNORA Internat
    42, Giriappa Road, T Nagar
    Madras
    Tamil Nadu
    India
    600 017
    828 3366, 828 3377

Partners

    No partnering organisation
    Mr. MB Nirmal, Chairman EXNORA Internat
    42, Giriappa Road, T Nagar,
    Madras
    Tamil Nadu
    India
    600 017
    828 3366, 828 3377

    Mr. TK Ramkumar, General Secretary, EXNO
    International,
    42, Pelathope, Mylapore
    Madras
    Tamil Nadu
    600 004
    49 33527


To MOST Clearing House Homepage