Bengaluru stares at garbage crisis as processing units face public outrage

Bengaluru stares at garbage crisis as processing units face public outrage

The city is once again staring at a severe garbage crisis as many of its scientific waste processing units are either shut or working below their capacity. The only ray of hope are the landfill sites where garbage is disposed of in an unscientific manner. The Palike has identified a few abandoned quarries for this purpose.

Sources in the BBMP said most of these scientific units are either closed or working below their capacity owing to protests from local residents. Pressure from vested interests who do not want a solution for garbage crisis, is also at work.

Palike is finding it difficult to maintain these processing units properly. According to the BBMP sources, the situation has worsened over the past one month, particularly at Seegehalli and Kannahalli units where the waste generated in western Bengaluru is processed.  A major fire accident at Kannahalli waste processing unit four months ago halted its operations for almost two months. The work resumed, but triggered protests by the residents against the unit. As a result, the functioning of Seegehalli unit which is located close to Kannahalli, too was affected. Palike is not able to despatch 100 tonnes per day (TPD) to these two units, which together have a capacity to process 700 TPD.

A member of the expert committee on solid waste management admitted that the garbage processing units were not functioning due to protests. “People who have properties next to these units are sabotaging their operation,” the member said.  Another member said that the Palike had failed to treat leachate at Bellahalli quarry and this may pollute the groundwater.

Top Palike officers said that non-segregation of waste at source was another major reason affecting the operation of these plants. They said these units are specially designed for processing segregated waste. “We had to return many trucks of mixed waste coming to these units after the Kannahalli fire incident,” an officer said.

The segregation of waste at source has not taken off in the city because the garbage contractors are not willing to implement it. Pourakarmikas are lifting mixed waste across the city as they do not have separate bins to collect segregated garbage.

A retired bureaucrat said the Palike has increased the expenditure on waste management from Rs 450 crore to Rs 700 crore. “Now it is under pressure to show that the city is generating more than 4,000 metric tonnes of garbage per day while the actual generation is below 2,000 metric tonnes per day,” he said.

When contacted, BBMP commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad claimed that all the garbage processing units were functional and there was no problem in the city. “There would have been garbage all over if these units were not operational,” Prasad said.

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