Garbage has no direct effect on health: Experts

 Unattended rubbish heaps invite insects, rodents and stray animals. They do not, however, have any direct implication on people’s health, experts say.

But if flies from garbage dumps bite someone, there are chances of him/her developing ‘insect bite allergy’, Dr Maya Philip, dermatologist, Mallya Hospital, said. There is no known case of skin allergies caused by garbage.

 Those residing close to garbage dumps, especially in landfill areas, do suffer from insect bite allergies. Skin rashes are mainly seen among those who handle garbage with their hands,” she said.

An adverse effect of uncleared garbage is the leachate or toxic fluid the heaps emit. The fluid can contaminate ground water, Philip said.

Sorting out at source

A few members of Malleshwara Swabhimana Initiative have been practising garbage segregation at source for many years and have successfully reduced waste generation in a few pockets in Malleswaram.

Vani Murthy, one of the members, says citizens have to take the initiative to reduce and recycle garbage and not blame the BBMP for not clearing it.

The residents have been segregating garbage separately for paper, plastic and other material. “Kitchen waste can be handled well with common compost, which requires the active participation of the local communities. Paper and plastic segregated at source can easily be sold for a few bucks. Public participation is the best way to handle garbage,” she said.

Solid Waste Management Round Table (SWMRT) submitted a draft copy of the ‘Integrated Solid Waste Management Policy’ in July this year to the BBMP. The policy elaborates on door-to-door collection, decentralised solid waste segregation centres, scientific management of landfill, etc.

Although a few non-governmental organisations managed to establish dry waste collection centres at Ejipura, Gottigere, HSR Layout and Yelahanka, they have not been working to their full potential.

Sandhya Narayan of SWMRT says, “The BBMP should enforce active participation of the public (in segregating garbage). “Garbage segregation at source should be enforced. We need to look for long-term solutions and not fight over the closure of the Mavallipura landfill,” she said.

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