If you find a stone slab on a pedestrian path missing, don’t blame the authorities alone. There is a growing tendency among people to remove the slabs to dump garbage in them and set it on fire.
Burning of garbage is prohibited in the City. The act will attract a fine from the solid waste department of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) but nobody seems to be too concerned about it.
Metrolife interacted with the BBMP officials and spoke to a people from a cross-section of society to understand how this trend can be controlled. M Lakshminarayana, commissioner, BBMP, observes that the tendency of people, to remove loose stone slabs and burn waste in them has increased. He points out that this shows the utter disregard people have towards maintaining public property.
“Burning of waste in itself could attract a fine amount of up to Rs 1,000 depending on the severity of the offence. For personal gain, people tend to dump waste at the nearest available place and don’t bother to either segregate it or dispose it in a proper manner. People must cooperate with officials with regard to disposal of waste in a disciplined manner,” explains Lakshminarayana.
He further states that this is precisely why the granite stone or tiles laid on pedestrian paths are being replaced with cobblestones. complete with an inter-locking system. “We are doing up most pedestrian paths with cobblestones rather than tiles because tiles prevent the percolation of water. Cobblestones absorb water and this is also good for recharging ground water,” he explains.
He adds, “This is not only strong and cannot be destroyed but also ensures longer life to the pavements.”
About the BBMP’s efforts towards strengthening roads and pavements, KT Nagaraj, superintendent engineer (Major Roads), explains, “Inter-locking slab pavements are the best. This indirectly helps preserve ground water and people who intend to destroy pavements cannot do it so easily. We are not aware of waste being burnt in this manner. If this is happening, then we will look into the matter,” he adds.
A senior official with the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) states that BBMP has to constructively engage agencies or groups working in waste management, including waste pickers, to make sure plastic is not mixed with other waste and burnt. The officer says that people throw plastic bags in drains, open sites and burn them, which pollutes the environment. “This could trigger lung and asthma-related problems,” he states.
Bangaloreans confess that they’ve heard enough tall promises and now, with elections underway, the list of promises are only getting longer. But they say that they see nothing happening and feel a pedestrian’s life is always at risk. David, an employee with Digicaptions, thinks, “People must make an effort to dispose waste as per the rules. Burning of waste, if absolutely necessary, must be done away from the City.” Roanna, a professional, couldn’t agree more when she says, “Burning of waste is a huge problem. It must be stopped at once.”
People wonder why segregation of waste is not being enforced. Srinidhi, another professional, feels, “Burning of waste must not be done and I think that if waste is segregated, then the issue of burning will not arise.”
Nikhil, a youngster concludes, “While the issue of burning of waste is not visible in the heart of the City, we see a few cases in the interiors. This must be stopped and we should not add to the increasing pollution levels.”