Residents' initiative on waste segregation faces Palike apathy

Residents' initiative on waste segregation faces Palike apathy

Reeling under a crisis over waste in their neighbourhood in 2000, two concerned citizens of Rajarajeshwari Nagar did something unexpected. Instead of waiting for the government action, they instead formulated a new plan to spread awareness about waste disposal among residents in the area.

Goaded by regular complaints from people in the area and drawing inspiration from a waste collection plan being enforced in Hanumanth Nagar, VNVP Rao, the president of the Ideal Home Residents Association in Rajarajeshwari Nagar — with the help of a friend who had returned from recently cleaned-up Surat — attempted to spread awareness about the proper disposal of waste. They also strived to enlist the support of the BCMC (Bangalore City Municipal Corporation) to support this endeavor.

Not satisfied, the duo also approached their parent organization, the Ideal Home Building Corporate Society, to obtain an interest-free loan for the purchase of a light utility vehicle, to transport  neighbourhood garbage.

With the help of the secretary of Urban Development and Ms Banilla, the CMC Corporator, Rao was also able to open a three-way line of communications between the Urban Development Department, the CMC and the citizens towards waste management. Every home in the area was charged Rs 30 for the removal of their trash, and progress was initially limited.

In their first year of operations, the Association was able to remove garbage from four homes through the use of their two-wheeler. By 2003, however,  the number of households participating in the project had reached 1,500. Overflowing garbage cans were also removed, but Rao confessed that project was limited merely to the removal of garbage.

Next step

In 2006, an interest-free loan of Rs 6 lakh was obtained, allowing the Association to build a composting plant. Manure from waste was sold to nurseries and other buyers, generating further revenue for garbage clearance.

Around the same time, the Association held a luncheon for BCMC workers to educate them on how to separate waste and segregate it. Workers were also instructed not to collect unsegregated waste from houses.

When the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) assumed the civic responsibility from the BCMC, the Association’s plant was shut down for unspecified reasons. Residents said that this, coupled with a general lack of concern, has led to the return of the garbage problem in their area.

The Ideal Home Building Corporate Society recently joined hands with Palike contractors from BVG India Limited to remove all waste which has accumulated on roads in the layout. The Society has also issued notices to clear the collected garbage.

Residents have also called for improved communication with Palike officers and have
recommended that officers conduct weekly visits  of the
layout.

 “As a community, we are more than willing to support an nourish this development,” said Vadana Badrinath, a resident. “There is incredible awareness about healthy waste  disposal habits. If the BBMP recognises that factor, we can mutually benefit,” she said.

But members of the Association point out that part of the continued problem of negligent garbage collection is money.

“The payment we give the Palike is not sufficient enough in comparison to the funds needed in reality to manage the garbage of the growing populace of Bangalore,” said Arun Kumar, an office-bearer of the Association.

Vani Vaidyanath, another resident, said: “Seventy per  cent of households in the layout segregate their trash, but we are unsure of how dedicated the Palike is. The staff members need to be educated further.”

Rao added that further awareness was needed over the problem.

“A lot of people claim to be dedicated to segregating waste. It is difficult to precisely state the segregation operation is successful in our locality,” he said. “We have definitely done a lot to promote its benefits, but more work needs to be done,” he said.

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