Harried citizens’ message to Palike: Meet us halfway

Garbage city_new

For a city that produces more than 5,000 Metric Tonnes of garbage every day, waste management is a seemingly impossible task. According to Bengalureans, that task falls on the shoulders of waste producers and the Bruhath Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) alike.

But while citizens can do more to segregate their waste, city officials need to ensure that segregated waste is collected and processed appropriately.

Some Bengalureans, such as Hospet native Madhushri (20), have access to frequent waste collection services. She segregates waste at home and at work in Indiranagar, expressing frustration with those who fail to segregate. “People don’t take (waste segregation) seriously. This is our city, and we have to take care of it,” adds Madhushri.

Many others also attribute the garbage menace to a generally apathetic atmosphere in the city. “It’s the culture. They see everyone throwing it around, so they think it’s okay. I think they really don’t know what the after-effects are going to be. They’re not aware of how severe it is,” says 18-year-old St. Joseph’s College student Nanditha James.

Nandith and her friend Anu Thomas, 18, wonders why people persist in polluting their own neighborhoods. “Sometimes, people who are educated throw their waste in public. We see it all the time. We see it in college—even our uncles and aunties. It’s weird, in college, if you try to correct them, they say that someone else will come and pick it up,” Thomas explains. “We have to change the mindset of the people,” adds James.

Not all Bengalureans, however, have access to the same amenities. Twenty-one-year-old engineering student, Hemanth D lives in an apartment with infrequent waste collection. “Usually the BBMP comes and collects the waste. But the collection truck comes monthly once, and sometimes there are strikes and we have to pay them,” he says, adding, “People don’t know where to put the garbage.”


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Others do not have the option to segregate at all. “In one dustbin, we are putting everything. They are providing only one dustbin,” says Roja, a pharmacist who works at Life Plus Hospital. If separate dustbins were made available, Roja says she would segregate her waste.

Just 12 kms south of Roja, in Banashankari, engineer Arpan Mukhopadhyay faces the same issue: he wants to segregate, but he cannot. “I want to segregate, but that I can’t do. There’s no segregation, and the waste is not collected from our home,” says Mukhopadhyay, who has been living in Banashankari for the last 11 months.

Just two blocks from his home, cows and dogs feast on a massive, festering trash pile. “Most people dump it on the streets,” he says. “It’s not cleaned up. It just gets piled on.”

Dilip Karunakaran, a finance professional living in Jakkur notes: “Waste collection happens but without segregation. The housekeeping staff collect waste from each flat and then dump in the BBMP truck when they come. We are not asked to segregate the waste between dry and wet. It’s all mixed.”

He notes that the corporation should take a tough stand and send out an advisory that any waste that’s not segregated will not be picked up. Workers should be instructed accordingly, he adds.

Karunakaran suggests that the Palike could incentivise segregation through a rebate in the property tax. “They collect solid waste management cess with the property tax that we pay. One more idea could be to show educational videos in schools. Once students get influenced they will talk to their parents,” he says.

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Harried citizens’ message to Palike: Meet us halfway

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