Supposedly Clean Semmenchery


My previous story was about a ‘kabadwala’ who burnt the plastic covering off the copper wires to earn a living. Since I had already got a sense of how somebody’s activities were affecting other people, i wanted to look at this from a different perspective by interviewing those who were affected. So that’s when i thought, “Hey! Let’s go to Semmencheri since there would be lots of waste management problems there.”On getting there however, the problems did not seem so obvious, as the place was spic and span! It’s only when I started interviewing the people, that I got a deeper understanding of issues that affected their lives.

Interview 1

LOCATION: Semmencheri

Name: Geetha

Age: 43

Profession: House Wife

Question and Answer Script:

  1. What is the biggest problem in Semmencheri?

The biggest problem here is drainage. The drainage pipes are too small, and hence, they get clogged. When this happens the excess drainage flows back into the bathrooms that are at the same level as the drainage outlet. When water flows into the bathrooms the bathrooms become unusable. Also, the excess drainage water flows out of the bathroom and stagnates outside the house. And since the road is at a higher level, there is no where for the water to flow . The stagnated water attracts mosquitoes and all health problems begin there.

  1. What have you done about this?

I have entered complaints to the Slum Board, where they fix temporary solutions. They send lorries to extract the water, and the everything goes back to normal.

  1. Is there any problem with drinking water?

Yes. The water tankers usually have dirty water, so we are forced to buy can water. Also, the water coming from our taps have worms sometimes, so it is displeasing.

Interview 2

LOCATION: Semmencheri

Name: Ananthan

Age: 45

Profession: Shopkeeper

Question and Answer Script:

1.What is the main problem you are facing?

My main problem here is the work of the people who live on the opposite side of the road. Since their bathroom is too small for them to wash clothes, they come to the foot of the road and wash their clothes. All the washing water flows across the road, which causes accidents, and also flows into my shop. As the shop is at a lower level as compared to the road, the water flows downwards. And since there is nowhere for it to go, it stagnates in the shop. Another problem is the mosquitoes during the rainy season.

  1. Do you have any solution for this?

Yes. I wish there were large capacity underground drainage pipes which would make it easier for residents and shopkeepers alike.

  1. Do you think any children like me have a chance to solve this problem?

Yes, very much. I have lots of trust and know that you will do a great job. You may take this problem to higher authorities who might even do something about this.

Interview 3

LOCATION: Semmencheri

Name: Mahadevan

Age: 39

Profession: Police, works at J-10 Police Station

Question and Answer Script:

  1. What do you think is the biggest problem people face here?

I think the biggest problem here is family disturbance. (lots of fighting between families). Also, lots of small thefts happen here. The second biggest problem here is place fights. Since two families live in one block, they fight over space. In this area lots of dogs come out at night when people are asleep. This proves to be a severe menace as they are ferocious and they chase people who walk in the streets. There are upto 25 dogs in just one street! These are from our perspective. However, the biggest problem that actually affects the people here is drainage. The main reason for drainage overflowing is a design issue. The pipes were designed to hold waste from each house that can only have upto 2 adults and 2 children. But, up to 8 adults live in a house and hence the amount of wastage from each house is more.

  1. How come the place looks very clean now?

That is because corporation staff come and clean it every evening. The people don’t do anything about it.

  1. Do you have any solution about spreading awareness?

Yes. I think maybe if a group of 50-60 children come and do a street play or speak about waste management, people living here might listen.

  1. Do you think any children like me can solve this problem?

Yes! As said in my solution, people might listen to the childrens’ actions more than a direct order from adults. I have lots of hope and can also help with anything you need based on this.