Festival over, contractors make bonfire of garbage

Festival over, contractors make bonfire of garbage

Rules, it seems, are framed only to be flouted at whim. Otherwise, making bonfire of garbage mounds that had collected, following three festival days, across the City, simply belies any sane explanation.  

In a blatant violation of court orders and environment ministry rules, contractors took the easy way out of a gargantuan task of clearing the garbage by setting them ablaze, and in turn, polluting the atmosphere all around. 

According to Ministry of Environment and Forests, Municipal Solid Waste Management and Handling Rules, 2000, garbage should not be burnt because it adds to existing pollution levels.

Further, Karnataka High Court, in November 2012, had stated that garbage should not be burnt, it should not be mishandled and should not touch the ground. Instead, it should be placed on cemented platform. If orders are violated, citizens can take photographs and file complaint against BBMP and contractors. 

But contractors set ablaze piles of garbage across the City on Thursday, which, contractors averred, was done because the quantity was “simply unmanageable.” BBMP officials said it was not them who indulged in making an inferno of the garbage. They blamed the roadside vendors for the fire. BBMP Additional Director (Garbage) Yatish Kumar said in stray cases it could have been contractors as well. 

According to him, the last three days saw the City generate 10 per cent more waste than normal days. Bangalore generates around 3,500- 4,000 tonne of waste everyday. If the contractor is found having violated the rules, he will be fined Rs 5,000 - 10,000 on the spot. Further, health inspectors also conducted inspections of market areas and major City roads. Their report will also be assessed. 

‘Against rules’

Civic Executive Trustee Kathayayini Chamaraj said: “Burning of garbage is against the rules and High Court orders. They could have recycled or processed the garbage. It could have been converted into manure and sold to farmers. They have simply burnt it because it is too much to handle and transport. Black spots are everywhere and BBMP, contractors have failed in their job.” 

She said people should oppose, take photographs of piled-up and burning garbage and file complaints against erring contractors and BBMP officials. Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) should also take serious note and take action against BBMP. But nothing is being done till date. 

Aggrieved residents point out that nothing is being done to make Bangalore garbage- free. “In some places garbage is set on fire, while in some others piles can be seen rotting on roadsides. In both cases foul smell emanates and environment is polluted. Garbage collection vehicles do not come every day to collect garbage. All garbage collected from houses and commercial units is dumped on roadsides and garbage from markets is also seen dumped in the same way,” said Neelam M, resident of Malleswaram.

Authority to book cases

KSPCB Chairperson Vaman Acharya said: “We have powers to book criminal cases against BBMP and erring contractors if people complain to us about garbage being burnt. It is a serious environmental issue.” 

Lakeside Medical Centre and Hospital Medical and Managing Director Dr H Paramesh said smoke emitted by burnt garbage leads to serious health issues, especially in cold weather, when temperatures and humidity are low. “It leads to nose irritation, sneezing, sinusitis, irritation in respiratory tract, blocked nose, running nose, chronic cough, wheezing, bronchitis and even pneumonia. If tyre and plastic are burning along with it, dioxin, a harmful poisonous gas, is released which leads to health problems and in serious cases death.”

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