Garbage segregation is a two-way traffic: Siddaiah

Garbage segregation is a two-way traffic: Siddaiah

Having returned to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) as commissioner a year after his unceremonious exit, Siddaiah now faces the daunting task of bailing out Bangalore from the garbage crisis that has dented its image globally.

The rubbish crisis has so overshadowed the other challenges facing the BBMP that Siddaiah says without hesitation: “I am a garbage commissioner.”

The gravity of the problem is such that it has seen two heads roll - senior IAS officers Shankarlinge Gowda and Rajneesh Goel. Siddaiah spoke to G Manjusainath on the persisting trash monster and ways to combat it.

Excerpts:

The High Court on Thursday directed the BBMP that Area Sabhas and Ward Committees be put in place in the next three days. How will you achieve this goal in such a short time?

We have already started the exercise. The worshipful Mayor (D Venkatesh Murthy) had held a meeting with the Standing Committee chairpersons, senior corporators, leaders of the ruling as well as the Opposition parties. On Tuesday, we are having a special council meeting on ward committees.

How you will ensure proper representation from every community in the ward committees?

We will go by the provisions laid down in the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act. It mandates for inclusion of people from the Scheduled Caste communities, women and the local residents' welfare associations (RWAs) in the ward committees.

But there are many RWAs which are not registered yet...We will absorb them in the ward committees and will ask them to register their organisations at the earliest. By January 21, we will have functional ward committees.

How prepared are you to face February when the Mandur landfill site will be closed?
We will tackle the situation. We are already in the process of acquiring landfill sites. The State Cabinet has approved 1,074 acres at two locations outside Bangalore. The deputy commissioners have said they have speeded up their the process to acquire land.

How will you ensure that unscientific disposal of waste, which led to the closure of Mavallipura landfill site, is not repeated at these two dumping yards?

The focus will, of course, be on scientific disposal of waste. We will ensure that 100 per cent segregation at source takes place. We will make the bulk generators segregate waste and dispose it of properly.

We are in the process of setting up dry waste collection centres in all the wards. Already, 50 such centres have come up and 23 will be launched shortly. For the remaining wards, we are identifying locations. We have been writing to the government to provide us with resources and places to set up dry waste collection centres in the remaining wards.

How will you achieve 100 per cent segregation of waste at source when there is no effort to educate masses or sensitise sanitary workers in this regard?

Segregation of waste at source is a two-way traffic. People should be willing to do it and we should ensure that the segregated waste is utilised properly. What we have observed is people are unwilling to do it. Also, there is reluctance on the part of the workers (pourakarmikas) who mix up the segregated waste. They must be sensitised. Awareness programmes must be conducted through advertisements, billboards, hoardings, street plays, seminars, NGOs and the RWAs.

Can this be achieved in 20 days when another landfill site will be closed?

Of course, not. We need at least two years’ time. We need to augment our efforts and along with it, devise a deterrent penal provision.

Our main focus is scientific disposal of waste amid other challenges such as resource mobilisation, maintenance of roads and electoral roll revision.

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