Mystery Indian activist revamping slums

Written By komlim puldel on Jumat, 31 Oktober 2014 | 20.01

The campaigner turned a dumping ground into a local meeting point. Source: YouTube

AN INDIAN activist is making his country beautiful, one street at a time.

The anonymous campaigner has been calling on citizens to clean up their act.

And his videos are inspiring people all over the world.

He targets ugly, unhygienic eyesores in the country. Source: Supplied

His team do the structural work of moving tree stumps and adding curbs, and then the community helps spruce them up. Source: Supplied

The "Ugly Indian" finds the filthiest streets and corners of a neighbourhood and shows how locals can turn them into safe and attractive places for the community.

His "Spotfix" videos started in Bangalore and have now gone viral, and he has even given a TED talk on why his campaign is proving so effective.

One of the targets he writes about on his website is open dumping grounds, which he says are a common sight in India.

His team revamp these eyesores by identifying the dumpers, giving them an alternative place to put waste and making the area look attractive.

Some walls have become popular public urination spots. Source: YouTube

But families are keen to try to change their areas. Source: YouTube

"Wonder Loos" have transformed walls and roads. Source: Supplied

Where smokers are dropping cigarette butts, his team install attractive-looking bins.

In other areas, he enlists locals to repaint peeling old walls and add seating.

Another issue is filthy footpaths, where shops have been dumping garbage and rat colonies flourishing for years.

"As nobody else seemed concerned, we made it 'our problem'," the campaigner says.

His team simply cleaned up the rubbish and added some pot plants — and no one dumps there any more.

An unsanitary dump outside a public playground. Source: Supplied

Paving, plants and paint give it a new lease of life. Source: Supplied

Some street corners have been piled with rat-infested rubbish for years. Source: Supplied

A new look changes local behaviour, the campaigner says. Source: Supplied

"The combined value of real estate rentals on this street is over $US1 million per month, it hosts over 200 businesses and restaurants, over 10,000 people walk here everyday," he writes of Bangalore's busy Church Street.

"Isn't that a good enough reason to fix it? Fix five such streets and the area gets transformed."

In most cases, the Ugly Indian says people respond to an area being cleaned up and stop dumping and littering, especially if they have somewhere else to dispose of waste.

Where public urination is particularly persistent, he has installed "Wonder Loos" — public urinals that can be attached to an outside wall.

The transformations are breathtaking.

Cigarette smokers get new bins so they won't drop butts. Source: Supplied

A foul spot on Church Street becomes a concealed public toilet. Source: Supplied

Perhaps his biggest achievement is saving lives.

India is rife with "death traps" like unfixed gaps in the footpath. The anonymous activist says there are affordable solutions that anyone can put in place.

Simply adding a paving stone could protect someone on your street from a broken neck.

One of the simplest and most ingenious solutions in his videos is a bright circle painted around a pothole.

Now two-wheelers can see it, avoid it, and escape a crash.

It's a small start, but the team hope to their efforts will help guide India into the future.


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