Kohima: Not too many people on the busy streets of Kohima would have noticed Elvis Kire, who roams around the area with a stick in his hand. But mind you, that is no ordinary stick; the 43-year-old entrepreneur uses it as a tool to pick up litter wherever he sees some. Kire does that voluntarily, and on a daily basis, without expecting any reward or recognition in return.
Kire is on a mission to make Kohima “cleaner than Singapore”. This is at a time when the capital of Nagaland was ranked as the second most ‘unlivable’ city in India in the Ease of Living Index released by the Union ministry of housing and urban affairs in August this year.
Kire’s real name is Thinuowhelhou Kire and he lives in Naga Bazar area of Kohima. His initiative to keep the city litter-free began about four months ago when he started cleaning the street from his home till his business establishment, and that too with the help of a humble umbrella cane.
Speaking to EastMojo, Kire said: “I want to keep Kohima clean. But everything should start from oneself. So, I talked to my wife and my children and decided to start the initiative from home.” It took them about a month to clean their homes and their surroundings. “Wherever we travel, we make sure that there are trash bags in the car so that my kids don’t litter around. The progress at home was really good and it was then that I decided to expand my mission. For a start, I started cleaning the street from my home till my office.”
Initially, Kire started picking litter with the help of an umbrella cane. Then he hammered a few nails into a stick and used it but that became inconvenient in the long run. It was then that he ordered a special litter pick-up tool which he uses at the moment.
Kire is not bothered about what others talk about him. “My wife is my rock. My family, friends and people who know me come to me and encourage me saying that I am doing a really good job and that they should also do the same,” he said.
“I always wanted to do something for society. I have a strong will that Kohima will be completely clean and litter free one day. So, even if no one comes to help me, I will continue working as long as I am healthy,” added Kire, who owns a photo studio, a clothing market and a restaurant in the capital city.
Like other towns, the Kohima Municipal Council (KMC) has its workers cleaning the city every day. However, many ignorant residents continue to litter the streets. Kire said: “Like we clean our homes regularly, we must also clean our streets,” he added.
Going forward, Kire now intends to create awareness among the people in order to achieve his mission of a clean city. “If you support me, kindly lend me a hand in picking at least one wrapper that you see on your way. That will surely help contribute towards keeping our city clean.”