So you segregate waste, what happens next?

Many of us have been discussing the garbage issue and these are some of the comments.

  • I live along a street near the Jayanagar shopping complex that has mainly commercial outlets. I have been segregating wet waste for years, I am interested in lending a hand with keeping the city clean, but once I segregate, where do I go ? ‘Door to door’ collection is a farce — no one knows when the garbage collection van comes, at what time, and whether it announces its arrival with a bell or whatever. I also leave the house early, and do not return till late evening, so where do I leave my segregated waste if there is no bin? What does one do if there is no ‘housewife’ at home who can be waiting for the arrival of the collection staff ? (a working woman)

  • Not all apartment blocks have 10 or more flats, some are small, with just 3 or 4 units. Where do they go ? Not large enough to undertake collective action. This, from a homemaker. She also points out that after paying extra for solid waste management, along with her annual property tax this year, she gets less service in terms of garbage removal!
  • What do elderly people living on upper floors do, are they supposed to wait at street level, clutching a paper bag of wet waste, to hand it over to the BBMP van, if and when it comes? (an 82 year old resident)
  • The shops open only around 10 AM, thereafter their cleaning woman empties the shop’s bin, which includes leftover lunch remnants, fruit peel etc, on to the nearest street corner — because there is nowhere else, and the ‘door-to-door’ collection does not work.(a civic activist of south Bengaluru)
  • I live near a fast food joint, and see customers emerge with a plastic packet and cup which they toss over their shoulder, along the street after they have finished munching, because there’s nowhere else. How do they wait for ‘door-to-door ‘ collection, clutching their ketchup-soaked packets? (another homemaker)
  • I have no answer to these queries. Except to reiterate what I have been saying for quite some time — bring back the bins. And then engage local residents or their associations to lend a hand, monitor and ensure that people do not drop rubbish outside or in the wrong bins. There is no other way.

Sure, residents are to be blamed too. I see two wheeler riders drive past, and fling a plastic bag of rubbish on to a garbage pile along a street corner, without even slowing down to ensure that it falls onto the rubbish heap.

We do need to tackle that — again, the solution lies in co-opting citizens. Authorise local bodies to nab offenders, the way the Americans used to enforce law and order by vesting powers on the sheriff (who in turn would pass on the power to catch and punish, by just pinning his sheriff’s star on another) Today, if I pull up an offender, he or she retorts, "Who are you to pull me up?" If I had the authority to monitor, I could be more effective.

Many of us who are interested in segregating and helping to reduce waste, are now sidelined by the ad hoc decisions and ‘rules’ that the BBMP comes up with. Till the bins are brought back, nothing is going to help tackle the mess. Put them back, and follow up with a vigorous campaign to ensure that they are used properly, by involving citizens and RWAs in this.

Without community participation, it is impossible to tackle the mess that our metropolis has become.

About Sakuntala Narasimhan 69 Articles
Sakuntala Narasimhan is a Jayanagar based writer, musician and consumer activist.

3 Comments

  1. BBMP as a civic body has to do a lot in waste segregation, which does not seem to happen. However, for the first few queries in this article, I had found an easy, feasible solution. Most here must be aware of it – kitchen composting. I got the composting pots from Daily Dump in Indiranagar and started composting the kitchen waste, so that I don’t have to depend upon BBMP to dispose it. Only thing I need to take care is to ensure that the procedure gets enough neem powder and culture, and not excess of water, so that worms do no start growing.
    However the pots broke because of carelessness when I was in process of shifting my house. I will be starting the process once more.

  2. BBMP is clueless on the solution to the massive problem of waste disposal.
    The stink of the city is felt at international level. I feel ashamed to watch foreign news channels expose the state of the huge quantity of garbage lying unattended in many parts of our Garden city. As a tax paying citizen I wish to know what happens to the money collected from us in the form of garbage cess? Why no planning for this problem has been done? The bureaucrats and politicians warn the citizens that they will impose fines for every fault. But who will be punished for deficiency in performance ? The garbage clearance should be handled by people who posses the expertise in the job, not by appointees of Government. I hope the people in power understand the feelings of the citizens and take immediate action on war footing to solve this problem

  3. Ya, this is reality.
    We have civic body and tax is paid by every property owner for garbage collection, though for the past couple of years.
    Even without that that civic body had enough resources for the past over 6 decades. Nothing was planned in the past, it was just a time pass, by talking as doing etc over 60 yrs.
    In any city, what need is to upgrade existing capacity, management and adopting new concepts for cost and hygenic benefits. We are in the 1st year of age whgen we are at 60 plus.
    We were blind, though physically not over 6o yrs, why? It is like a magic. Unfortunately, we believe in magic growth on everything, except wealth.
    So start day one atleast from now on every walks, from schools,training institutes, colleges,universities etc and develope quality and effective labor, manager etc in every field. That will definitely bring in change. Now we are on a building without a foundation, over many decades now and needs correction or rebuilding early before it collapses.

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