As the campaign for a Swacch Bharat grows stronger, not finding a dustbin nearby can no more be an excuse for littering garbage if you are using a smartphone! Thanks to a team of two engineers who have developed a mobile application named ‘Where is the Dustbin?,’ smartphone users can now locate dustbins and even souchalaya (toilets) in their vicinity.
Both Avinash Panigrahi and Kamal Kumar Sahoo (co-founders) are Electrical and Electronics Engineering graduates from IIIT Bhubaneswar who believe that keeping our cities clean is not the sole responsibility of the civic authorities. It should be a people’s campaign where citizens and civic organisations must volunteer to do their bit for a clean city. As the duo went through an arduous time working their way to become entrepreneurs, Avinash says, “The difficult times have inspired us to not only do something of our own but also do it for the good of the society. That is how we came across this idea.”
Greatly influenced by the Swach Bharat Abhiyan, they did several rounds of feasibility study and surveyed nearly 10,000 people to find out why they littered or did not use a public toilet. While some of them said they are used to the habit, most said they do it for a lack of option as they are not aware where the nearest dustbin or the toilet is located.
Not only is the app an easy way to ensure that city streets are not littered irresponsibly by daily commuters; but with a size of only three megabytes, the login process of the app is easier as compared to any other similar app. As the app is designed to show the users the nearest dustbin or toilet around them, they can figure the distance and time it would take to reach the particular spot. Additionally, there is an image section for every dustbin or toilet and allows the user to review the dustbin/toilet after their use. Users can also suggest new dustbins or toilets in their vicinity.
All one has to do, is to go in the menu bar and click on the ‘suggest’ option. After clicking on it, one will see (+) sign on right corner bottom side. Thereafter, adjust the pointer to make sure it’s the exact location and select the coordinates for the respective dustbins/toilets.
As the founders tell us that they have so far received valuable feedback from the users, they also have included a top user section to encourage them to feel good after doing responsible waste management. With the app now operational in three cities of the state, it locates around 150 dustbins and three to four toilets in Bhubaneswar and 50 dustbins and more than 10 toilets in Puri.
Meanwhile Cuttack has nearly 45 dustbins and six to seven toilets marked on the app. The founders are planning to make their next move to Rourkela to further their cause. However, outside of Odisha, they are partially operational in Chennai too.
The young entrepreneur duo has a clear goal ahead of them- make India clean by 2020. Although they are working with determination to achieve the colossal target they have set for themselves, they are yet to have a concrete revenue model to sustain the initiative. So far Odisha Tourism Department has joined hands with them but the founders are approaching various corporate houses and organisations for funding and becoming a part of this cleanliness drive.
Nonetheless, Avinash clearly points out that “Fund raising is difficult, but we will not charge the users for the app. We want citizens to know that cleanliness does not cost much. They should happily be a part of it.”