60 pc of City's waste is from homes, says study

60 pc of City's waste is from homes, says study

As the debate over how the City should dispose of its waste rages and residents of Mandur village protest against dumping of trash in their neighbourhood, it is important to note that almost 55-60 per cent of all waste generated is by homes, when compared with markets, restaurants, commercial premises, slums, street sweeping and parks.

“Maximum waste in the City comes from residences and homes. The separation of waste at source - at home - is not happening on a wide scale. All types of waste are getting mixed and hence recovering organic waste is becoming difficult,” said Prof T V Ramachandra of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), an ecologist who has worked on solid waste management.

According to a study conducted by Prof Ramachandra and his team of researchers in 2012, waste contributed from hotels and eateries was about 21 per cent, while fruit and vegetable markets contributed about 16 per cent, trade and commerce about 7 per cent and street sweeping and parks about four per cent. However, homes and residences generated about 60 per cent of the waste.

“We had conducted a study in 2005 as well as in 2012 and found that the proportion of change is almost negligible except in the case of homes –  which had increased from 55 per cent to 60 per cent. It is clear that plenty of work has to be done at homes – people should segregate recyclable and non-recyclable waste.”

IISc scholars H N Chanakya and Shwetmala point to another significant trend in the City. They observe that 72 per cent of all waste generated is organic matter or fermentables, which means there is massive scope to convert this organic matter into compost and manure.

Paper and cardboard constitute 15 per cent of the waste, cloth, rubber, PVC and leather contribute one per cent, glass 1.4 per cent, polythene 6.2 per cent, metals 0.24 per cent and dust and sweeping around 6.55 per cent.

“Bangalore’s waste is characterised by a high content of fermentable components (72 per cent). These wet and fermentable wastes require daily removal from places of generation,” researchers say, adding that the quantum of organic waste collected goes up significantly if there is primary collection - at the doorstep, which is the method in vogue.

There are many reasons why Bangalore’s waste management is becoming a crisis every year. The most important one is a marked lack of people’s participation at various stages - people speak about laudable objectives but never get down to work.

Adding to that, there is insufficient segregation at homes with residents taking no interest in this crucial method of disposal, inadequate recycling, lack of commercial incentives for processing fermentables and lack of clarity on how health should be monitored.

Prof Ramachandra says when organic content is so high in waste, residents need to take active interest in segregating waste from their homes. Organic matter, says Yellappa Reddy, is the source of all fuel - petrol, diesel, coal. “We have to convert organic matter into energy and biogas that can be used for basic purposes like lighting, cooking and heating. Organic waste is not waste, but a resource waiting to be transformed into energy,” he said.

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