Clean Up

Avinash Pillai, a conservancy worker in India picked up hundreds of tons of Covid-19 waste everyday from hospitals. His journey during the pandemic and how the waste traveled reveals a larger global problem.

  • Vaishnavi Vasudevan
  • Vaishnavi Vasudevan
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    19 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    March 25, 2023
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital , Zoom interviews
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism
Director Biography - Vaishnavi Vasudevan

Vaishnavi is a journalist and first time documentary director graduated from the University of Southern California in May 2022. She completed her degree - Master of Arts (Specialized Journalism) with specialization in documentaries. She was awarded USC Annenberg Graduate Fellowship 2020 and Victoria Hall Scholarship. Her research project 'Clean Up' was also selected for the USC Annenberg Graduate Fellowship Research and Creative Project Symposium. Vaishnavi has previously worked as a print and television journalist in national news organizations in India.

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Director Statement

This project was shot during the height of the pandemic from 2020 until mid 2021 when travel was restricted, Covid-19 safety norms were strictly enforced including social distancing. With many restrictions at place, the film was completed with the help of the most widely used new communication app during the time - Zoom video conferencing. Some of the interviews were recorded on Zoom and footages were sourced.

'Clean Up' originated out of my curiosity to know what happened to all the masks, gloves and medical waste we generated in such large numbers everyday. Within a short period of time, it became an investigative piece as I discovered a larger issue that affected not just a region but the entire world and the environment. Every country faced a tremendous challenge of medical waste during the Covid-19 pandemic but certainly it wasn't the biggest worry then. But today, two years since, Covid19 waste and its long term impact on human health and the environment cannot be overlooked. This drove me to tell the story of 'Clean Up'- a journey of the Covid 19 waste.