Can tech drive Bengaluru's waste management woes?

Let tech drive waste management in India’s Silicon Valley

Credit: DH file photo.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) always struggled and drew flak for the inefficiency of solid waste management. There were several complaints from Bengalureans regarding the collection and disposal of the waste. Will a new agency on the government’s agenda solve the problem?

How will the new body shape things better? DH interacts with a cross-section of Bengalureans to ascertain their views on this critical issue.

Riyaz Pasha, a resident of Ashoknagar, has this to say: “In Bengaluru city, out of the total waste generated annually, it is estimated that about a third gets recycled or composted, 13% is incinerated and the remaining goes to the landfills.”

Bengaluru is mostly known as the Silicon Valley of India. Although the city’s nickname is taken from a foreign land famous for its technology, Bengaluru failed to pick up an efficient waste management system with the help of technology, Pasha notes.

Read: Separating solid waste management from BBMP

“In foreign countries, incineration is up to 50% and recycling is 43%. Landfilling is only about seven per cent. If we adopt the techniques and methods the foreign countries are using, it will definitely help to reduce the pollution and the contamination of soil and water, save the flora and fauna in and around the landfilled areas,” he elaborates.

Gayathri H S, who works at HCG hospital, says, “The first thing the BBMP or a new agency tasked with managing waste has to do is ensure that the waste is collected properly from door to door. Most of my friends and family staying at different parts of the city complain that the waste collectors do not come to the houses for three or four days in a row.” She wonders, “If this is happening, how will we keep our houses and surroundings clean?”

Most of the uncollected waste is dumped on the roadsides. This eventually becomes a source for the spread of mosquito-borne diseases during monsoon season. “Waste collection should be done properly and strict action taken against those who are dumping waste on the roadsides,” she feels.

Prasanna Devi, a Sanjaynagar resident, welcomes the move to create a separate agency to manage solid waste. This, she says, is a well-planned step. She adds, “Managing waste is not dumping it in one place. Instead, it incorporates segregation, recycling and also reusing. For that, the authorities should collect the waste separately. This will not only help to reduce waste but also to protect the environment from pollution.”

David Raj Jose, a resident of Koramangala says, “Bengaluru is overcrowded and the BBMP didn’t take care of the growing population with regards to waste management.”

It is not only the household waste that adds to the burden of waste management. “Bulk generators such as hotels, malls, restaurants and factories will have a lot of waste compared to normal households. So, instead of putting the entire burden on the public body’s head, private firms such as factories and malls can build their own recycling plants or treatment facilities,” he suggests.