Mahadevapura chokes on burning garbage

Smoke emanating from a burning garbage pile in Mahadevapura. dh photo

The burgeoning number of slums in the Mahadevapura zone and BBMP’s apathy have compounded the garbage issue in the area with burning of waste leading to a sharp increase in pollution.

Residents have identified at least three large burning spots in each ward. For the past two weeks, residents of Thubarahalli in Whitefield have been bearing the brunt of garbage burning in the slum right behind Vibgyor School.

“We are engulfed by the toxic gases and foul smell from the slum where plastic, rubber tyres and other waste materials are burnt regularly. We can clearly see it by standing on the terrace of Vibgyor School,” said Vijay, who shot videos and photos of the burning activity in the slum. According to him, the burning takes place everyday, mostly in the evening.

Residents say Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike has failed to check the menace with culprits often being contractors appointed by BBMP, besides slumdwellers. They said a public interest litigation has been filed in the high court by Jhatkaa, a campaigning organisation.

The situation is worse near Varthur Lake and other parts of Varthur ward, including some places in Hagadur ward, Doddanekkundi, Hoodi and nearby wards.

The residents’ claim is backed by the spike in the PM 2.5 levels recorded by air quality monitors set up last month at 10 places by nonprofit Mapshalli and Whitefield Rising. “The PM 2.5 particles are mainly produced from all types of combustion, agricultural burning and industrial processes,” said Shiv Shankar, Mapshalli founder.

A Whitefield Rising member said the PM 2.5 level has touched 22. “It means, every resident is smoking one cigarette daily. But the values have gone up between 60 and 120 over the last few days,” he said.

Local MLA Arvind Limbavali said he had repeatedly asked BBMP officials and contractors to check garbage-burning and attributed the problem to “contractors’ mafia”. “The nexus between corporators and BBMP staff is hampering waste segregation. I asked the contractors to instal GPS in garbage vehicles but they haven’t done it yet,” he said.

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