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What I Do

Welcome to my blog. I’m Brooks Anderson, founder and manager of Clear Impression Documentation Services (CIDS), a documenation agency based in Tamil Nadu, south India. I’m an American, but I’ve lived and worked in India for 20 years. Before moving to India in 1993, I earned an MS in rural sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

I have produced documents in the areas of public health, agriculture, disaster relief and recovery, and sanitation. In 2013 and 2014, I worked for Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, documenting their efforts to improve maternal and infant health and survival in Bihar. I have also created documents for Unicef.

I created this blog to share my experiences in the field, my thoughts about documentation and the subjects I’m assigned to cover, and samples of products that I create for clients.

I look forward to your comments, and hope that you enjoy the site.

Thanks for visiting.

If you need something documented, please contact me at

18 Comments leave one →
  1. Darcy Campisi permalink
    December 9, 2010 10:43 pm

    I am very impressed Brooks. It must be a good feeling to do such valuable work. The pictures tell the story so well. I feel sad for the people who must live in such a filthy environment and I feel sad for the environment itself. It is all about educating the people. That wouldnt be possible without the documenting work you are doing. Again…..GREAT JOB!!! Darcy

    • Brooks Anderson permalink*
      December 12, 2010 5:18 am

      Hi Darcy,

      Thanks for visiting the site and leaving a comment.

      India is breathtakingly filthy. Improving garbage managment is a huge challenge, and I’m glad to be increasing the visibility of good projects.


  2. G.K. SHANKAR permalink
    May 14, 2011 3:25 am

    hello, this is Akila .I read about your work. Good. We may meet sometime. Iam in Delhi. My husband is G.K.Shankar.

    • Brooks Anderson permalink*
      May 14, 2011 3:32 am

      Hello Akila,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Were you formerly a teacher in Kodaikanal, native of Trichy?


  3. June 18, 2011 11:30 am

    I really feel very sad for the people who live in these filthy environment …….

    • Brooks Anderson permalink*
      June 18, 2011 12:00 pm


      Thanks for visiting the site and leaving a comment. Indeed, it’s astounding that the children in Pondy’s dumps can still smile and laugh.


  4. Sunny Marella permalink
    November 9, 2011 5:16 am

    Mr Anderson,

    Ive read your work on the Puducherry Municipal Corporation and their Garbage dumping negligence. This is something to be taken seriously and i hope i can get the information out to the Rotary club of pondicherry of which my dad was the president. As a matter of fact, the current president of the club holds a post at the ‘PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT’ in pondicherry. So, thanks again and i hope i could help you in taking photographs and keeping you updated with sites you are interested in and around pondicherry. I like to help out at NGO’s. But, thank you once again.

  5. PRAVEEN permalink
    April 8, 2012 5:58 am




  6. Pradeep kumar permalink
    June 15, 2012 12:01 pm

    Really touching scenes. wish you could find a solution to this problem .
    pradeep kumar
    deepthi eco store
    calicut dt

    • June 17, 2012 4:52 am


      Thanks for visiting the blog and leaving a comment.
      As I’ve said in several of my posts, a solution to India’s solid waste crisis would be for local administrations to bring waste management services into compliance with India’s regulatory framework. This is happening to varying degrees in a few localities.

      In 2000, India’s Supreme Court ordered the Ministry of Environment and Forests to develop rules for waste management. The MoEF did so, and those rules, The Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000, were gazetted and they provide detailed directions for waste management. However, nearly no locality is in complete compliance. Although the rules assign responsibility for their enforcement, nobody has ever been punished for violation of the rules.

      Under incessant and intense pressure from the World Bank, USAID, the ADB, and UNDP to privatise waste management as a “new approach,” there is much high-priced hoopla and subsidy for privatisation, despite the fact that privatised waste management has a dismal track record over the past two centuries. Pondicherry’s effort to privatise waste management by contracting the work to the Bangalore-based firm, Kivar Environ, was a short-lived fiasco, and ended in an orgy of litigation, each party accusing the other of irregularities and impropriety.

      Privatisation is a scheme by free-market enthusiasts to transfer public wealth to the private sector and emaciate the government. The real agenda of privatisation is, in the words of privatisation zealot Grover Norquist, “to shrink government to the size that it can be drowned in a bathtub.”

      For more information about privatisation, I suggest you read my paper, Privatisation: Provision or Perversion of Solid Waste Management, available on this site.

      Rather than outsourcing its responsibility to protect the environment and public health, the government should execute the work that it is legally obligated to do.

  7. S.Sathish permalink
    June 21, 2012 11:03 am

    what are the methods to educate indian people specially starts with tamil nadu people on garbage handling and its importance.

    Planning for garbage handling and processing plant in pondy.
    Need your help and assitance.

    • June 22, 2012 8:41 am

      Hi S. Sathish,

      Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving your comment.

      I’m glad you’re planning a garbage handling and processing plant in Pondy.

      If you need assistance, I suggest contacting Mrs. Mangalam Balasubramanian, the founder of Exnora Green Pammal. Her e-mail ID is

      Exnora Green Pammal manages the waste of Pammal municipality, and in several other Indian localities.

      Best wishes,

  8. June 21, 2012 8:11 pm

    Dear Brooks,

    This is a magnificent work. Now we need to really turn the tide.

    On a practical note, can you explain why the smoke from the dump is mostly coming around midnight for those downstream (nearer the coast) in Auroville. Every night religiously at around midnight (the time when one should be resting and healing) the most noxious and revolting smoke travels everywhere.

    Is it because people are stoking the fires more at this time or burning wires to extract metal or is this just a co-incidence and due to weather ? I understand the anaerobic combustion takes place all the time but why the above phenomena.

    Secondly if it is not man induced fires but spontaneous ones from anaerobic combustion, is there no simple solution to manage this at least so the poisonous smoke can be halted whilst the government catches up with what is their duty as stipulated by national and international law.

    Best Wishes,


    • June 22, 2012 8:37 am

      Hi Martin,

      Thanks for visiting the site and leaving your comments.

      I don’t know why the smoke from Pondy’s dump comes to Auroville at night.

      It is my understanding that a group of Aurovillians who were in contact with PMSPL, the company that was previously managing Pondy’s waste, got PMSPL to turn the waste regularly, so that methane did not get produced. By turning the waste, decomposition was aerobic, rather than anaerobic. But since PMSPL quit their contract several weeks ago, the turning of the waste may have stopped. I don’t know how waste is being managed presently because I haven’t visited the dump in Karuvadikuppam recently, and I don’t live downwind from it.

      Turning the waste is a simple solution to stop the production of methane, but a better solution would be the separate collection of biodegradable waste at source (door to door), as the Government of India’s regulations mandate, and the composting of such waste alone to create pure compost.

      This is done in a few localities in India, but not in Pondicherry.

      Best wishes,

  9. Murugan permalink
    August 16, 2012 12:30 pm

    We ADORE society come forward to collect Dry waste from Muthialpet, Debesanpet, Puducherry and hand over to buyers. Our aim to stop waste from house to street. Our project is CLEAN GREEN PUDUCHERRY.

    Thank you


    ADORE society

  10. July 7, 2014 6:14 am

    Dear Brookes,

    We are really impressed with your work and photographs. We are going to publish a book titled “India’s Urban Confusion: Challenges and Strategies”. So, to design the book cover, we would like to use one of the photographs clicked by you. So, could you please grant us the permission to use it. We’ll give a proper credit note on the cover.

    Waiting for your reply,

    Sumit Aggarwal
    Managing Editor
    COPAL Publishing Group

  11. Pam permalink
    June 19, 2015 1:55 am

    Brooks hi! Its so good to see you are still doing great work in India. You remember me, I was the slacker who hung out with Anne, Curt, and Sheik(Babu). Best wishes!

    • June 19, 2015 2:43 am

      I remember you and Curt and Anne very well. How are you? Babu and I remain in touch. I’d love to connect with you and Anne and Curt on FB or just by e-mail if you’re not on FB. Are you all still in touch?
      All the best,

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