Segregation at source is crucial for a clean city

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garbageBangalore, August 16; Ask any Bangalorean what their pet peeve is and garbage is likely to be the top answer. It is no wonder that solid waste management is the priority for the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).

Not too long ago, garbage posed a gargantuan problem for the BBMP. The problem erupted in September last year when the communities living around the landfills protested against the BBMP for dumping untreated waste.

The city generates around 3,600 tonnes of waste a day. When the communities protested, garbage started piling up across the city.

Waking up to the crisis, the BBMP has since held numerous consultations with solid waste management experts. It was after this that the civic body realised that the solution to the city’s problems lay in segregation of waste at source.

With the communities living around Mandur landfill renewing their threat earlier this week to stop lorries from dumping the city’s waste in their backyard yet again, the residents could be staring at another full-blown garbage crisis. Though segregation of waste was made mandatory in the city from October 1, it is not being implemented. To stress on segregation, the BBMP has set up dry waste collection centres in 142 wards and 43 are under construction.

It has also taken up zero waste programme in 30 wards, including eight wards in partnership with ITC Ltd. However, with segregation yet to take off, the BBMP continues to dump mixed waste in the four landfills — Mandur, S. Bingipura, Lakshmipura and Terra Firma.

BBMP officials conceded that with citizens yet to wake up to the importance of segregation, the plans of the BBMP and the government of having a garbage-free city are far from being realised.

The civic body’s proposal to penalise citizens who fail to segregate waste at source is pending with the government. “Even if the citizens segregate waste, the pourakarmikas who collect waste aggregate it. Though training programmes have been held for the pourakarmikas, facilities to collect the segregated waste separately and dispose them of are yet to be put in place fully,” the official said.

The BBMP believes that a large part of the problem will be solved if the new garbage tenders are finalised. Of the 91 garbage packages, the BBMP has contractors for 51 packages only. The hold of the “garbage mafia” is yet to be broken. The BBMP has floated 50 new tenders, but these are yet to be opened. Officials said that once the High Court gives the BBMP the go ahead, the tenders will be finalised.

While the situation may seem like it is under control, none of the solutions proposed by the solid waste management experts have been implemented, giving rise to fears that the city could be engulfed in its own garbage anytime again.

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