'Citizens will segregate but there's a problem'

With Bengaluru spiralling towards a garbage crisis, waste segregation and proper garbage disposal have become the need of the hour.  DH file photo

With Bengaluru spiralling towards a garbage crisis, waste segregation and proper garbage disposal have become the need of the hour. While garbage black spots never disappeared from the city streets, a crisis could make this much worse. Here are a few voices seeking immediate solutions.

Bengalureans once again are looking at how the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) will manage the impending crisis. But there are many who want to do something on their own to salvage whatever is left of the city’s clean image.

Vignan Gowda, a member of the Sanjaynagar Residents Welfare Association remembers the ‘Composting Santhe’ initiative he had started with the BBMP two years ago to promote wet waste composting.

He believes that the only way to effectively address the issue is for people to manage their own waste, avoid plastic and recycle. “The Solid Waste Management department of BBMP must be held accountable to compost wet waste in each ward. Nothing should be taken out of the ward. We need to start owning our garbage,” he notes.

Gowda talks about the initiative ‘Namma Beediyalle Composting’ (Composting in our streets) taken up by the RWAs of Dollars Colony in Sanjaynagar eight months ago. This was about educating people on waste management.

He explains, “We set up composting units where pourakarmikas can dump the wet waste. Six months ago, we had handed out pen drives with audio recordings to the garbage collection autos. The audios talk about waste segregation and garbage disposal. Due to rising need, we plan to do this again shortly.”

Anjali Saini, a member of Whitefield Rising stresses on the need for proper infrastructure. “BBMP has said that each ward should have a dry waste composting center (DWCC), but the few existing ones are hardly functioning,” she notes.

Her association had raised Rs 2 crore from a reputed technology company to set up a DWCC. “But we had to return the money after two months because BBMP would not let us do the work. Keeping political parties aside, if the government can promise to construct so many Indira canteens in 90 days, why should we wait four years for a DWCC?” she wonders.

Saini insists that the problem is in the enforcement of the BBMP contracts, quoting that out of 32 garbage collecting autos, only 20 autos run in her area. The irregularity of these autos caused people to dump garbage on the roadside.

“It would also be far more efficient if they ran separate autos for dry and wet waste. We ran a pilot test in Hagadur, sending separate autos for dry waste in two routes. While BBMP was collecting 300 kg dry waste from 24 routes, we picked up 120 kgs in just one route. People are willing to segregate. But if they don’t pick it up regularly, what is the point of my segregation?” she demands.

Aditi Bhatnagar, a resident of Hoodi talks about the need for personal initiative and intervention in composting and segregation at the grassroot level. For instance, the vegetable markets which are sources of bulk wet waste.

Recently, she had been to Vishakapatnam where the government had put up hoardings and were giving out subsidised composting bins. “We also need government intervention about composting, especially with these new online food delivery restaurants which produce a lot of kitchen waste, but have no proper setup for waste management,” she feels.

Companies such as Amazon and Flipkart could also help by controlling and reusing their plastic wrappings, she suggests. “Personally, I do vermicomposting which is an excellent method to deal with wet waste.”

Subhash Shetty, president of Sobha apartments RWA in Nagasandra, who is also a member of the BBMP Ward Committee identifies open waste dumping as the biggest nuisance in his area. Despite taking up this issue in committee meetings, the situation continues to worsen, even in other areas like Dasarahalli and Peenya, he laments.

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