In 2018, a video clip showing Japanese football fans staying behind after a FIFA World Cup match to clean the stadium went viral almost immediately. Without a doubt, this news awed and inspired many in our country, but did it translate into reality? Habits, unfortunately, run deep.
But Grade One Constable Ebin Christopher firmly believes change will come only if we adapt as a community. His timely deed comes as a reality check for our double standards.
On March 29, Ebin, a patrol officer on the Elliots Beach stretch in Besant Nagar, was dismayed to find the footpath littered with empty cardboard boxes and the tiles made slippery with cake crumbs and buttercream. Just a few hours earlier, a birthday celebration had transpired and the students had left a messy mark in the public area. â€śThis is a place where many aged people take a walk. It cannot be so poorly maintained like this,â€ť Ebin recalled thinking at the time.
He also recalled that people had complained of similar occurrences in the past, and so Ebin decided to act on it. â€śI found the bakeryâ€™s phone number from the boxes and called them. When I told them I was a cop, they gave me a phone number to contact one of the students who had ordered for it.â€ť
Soon after he had called the students, they rushed to the spot fearing action, he told TNM. â€śThey feared that I was going to file a complaint. But I made them clean the area so that they do not repeat it again. Keeping our surroundings clean is a collective responsibility. People should not shift blame on the corporation for such matters. This is applicable for every social issue,â€ť the cop says.
Ebin, who joined J5 Sashtri Nagar Police station in 2016, was previously with the Mount Armed Reserved forces. The story of Ebin making students clean up their own mess has been shared widely on the internet and he has received praise from many, he says.