'Mafia obstructing scientific disposal of garbage in City'

'Mafia obstructing scientific disposal of garbage in City'

The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board Chairperson A S Sadashivaiah alleged on Tuesday that the garbage transport contractors’ mafia was so strong in the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike that it was impossible to reform the garbage disposal system.

“It is high time the civic authorities ensure alternative arrangements for scientific disposal of garbage,” Sadashivaiah  said in an interaction with Deccan Herald on Tuesday.
He said that there was no choice but to look for different ways of utilising garbage than just dumping it.

According to Sadashivaiah, the BBMP is spending about Rs 400 crore annually for the transportation of garbage from streets to dump yards. He suggested garbage be used for power generation as is being done in cities like Chennai, Surat and Mumbai through public-private partnerships.

Sadashivaiah said a small country like Sweden has 25 units that generate power from trash. “We could have done this at Mandur near Hoskote and Mavallipura near Yelahanka long ago,” he added.

The KSPCB chairperson said the transport mafia had a vice-like grip from the garbage collection point to the dump yard.

When asked about the quantum of power that could be generated from garbage in the City, he said 1,000 tonnes of garbage could yield more than 15 MW of power.

The City produces not less than 4,500 tonnes of waste daily. Nearly 500 trucks, on record, are being used to transport garbage from the City to the landfills.

“Captive generating units do not produce much power. But, they help in disposing of waste. The quantity of garbage can be reduced to half by generating power, as the raw material will be reduced to ashes.

Many private companies including foreign firms have come forward to generate power. Garbage should be segregated at the ward-level itself,” he said.

Power generation

Sadashivaiah said like in Mavallipura, local residents elsewhere were also strongly opposing dumping of garbage in their vicinity. Landfills have become breeding grounds for diseases. Hence, people were protesting, he said.

BBMP Commissioner Shankarlinge Gowda too admitted that the transport contractors’ lobby was very strong,  making garbage disposal a tricky issue.

“The lobby controls the sweepers, the people who load garbage onto the trucks and also those who unload it at the landfills.”

Gowda said a majority of the contractors were from Andhra Pradesh and this time the Palike would ensure no individual or network was allotted garbage lifting contract.

“We have to allow in some competition among the contractors, failing which the Palike’s work will suffer. The pourakarmika groups have been allowed to take up new contracts,” he said, adding that the new system would be introduced as soon as the existing one expired.

On the viability of power generation from garbage, Gowda said two firms had already been allowed to generate power, which includes 10 MW at Mavallipura and 8 MW at  Mandur.

Gowda said it would take at least two years to start generating power from garbage.

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