KR Market's garbage is a mixed one

KR Market's garbage is a mixed one

Beyond the 4,000 tonnes of garbage (rotting vegetables, banana skins, lettuce waste, etc) that Bangalore generates daily, there is an estimated 1,200 kgs of meat waste that comes out every day.

But the bulk of the two categories of waste get mixed up here, the meat and vegetable waste are dumped on each other creating an unbearable stench.

At the popular K R Market, the meat waste generated on a daily basis is around 46-50 kgs. While it is said that waste is thrown into underground drains, people also say that merchants throw the waste at a designated spot just outside the market.

Ramachandra, a trader conducting his business just opposite the spot, says: “Everyday, meat traders load waste into cardboard boxes or covers and throw it at the spot where the BBMP trucks pick it up at a designated time. Around 46 to 50 kgs meat waste is thrown at the spot. That waste gets mixed with other garbage. The stench can get unbearable.”

According to Ramachandra, sometimes the meat waste is also kept inside the market premises and would be taken out only a day or two later. There is some inaction, which has to be rectified. But he adds quickly that the waste generated is by traders of all communities. “It cannot be said that only one community works in the meat industry.  All the communities should come together and work out ways to handle waste better.”

While traders inside the complex throw waste just outside the place, individual shops have a different system. Mohammed Razak, meat shop owner, says that meat waste is stocked in eight cardboard boxes and is placed outside the shop every day for disposal vans to pick up the cartons.

“We don’t have to throw the waste as we are sure that the van comes everyday. The same is the case with the market traders. They are also sure that the BBMP vans come and therefore drop it outside the market. Most individual shops do not go to the spot and have made arrangements with small tempos to dispose off the waste,” says Razack. He guesses that the waste would be re-used and sold. “Why would they do this if they don’t get some benefit?”

KR Market has been in the city from the 1920’s, when it was also a battlefield in the fight against the British. Approaching 100 years, it is now on the verge of transformation as it has become unorganised. The biggest problem the market faces is the generation and management of waste from fruits and vegetables to meat. Until recently, garbage was cleared infrequently leaving it unattended and vulnerable to disease outbreaks. 

There have been innumerable debates around the methods to be adopted to clear the garbage. But the disposal system linked to landfills on the city’s outskrits has run into problems with villagers there not ready to oblige BBMP and the corporators. 

Since the garbage at KR Market is full of rotting vegetables and groceries to all kinds of food including meat, street hawkers say they have become immune to it. “Waste is created every day.  We can’t wait for BBMP to clear it. We have to run our businesses and ensure that we get some money as it is a question of livelihood. Where else can we go,” asks Murugan, a native of Dharmapuri, who sells vegetables. 

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