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.⊕