Solid waste management in the city has miles to go before it reaches satisfactory levels. Citizens have realised this and are pitching in with their mite rather than leaving it all to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
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Bangalore generates some 3,000 tonnes of garbage everyday. While some of it is recycled, most of it is just dumped in landfills around the city. These landfills are getting scarce by the day. Effective solid waste management is the need of hour to reduce the amount of garbage generated and ensure a much cleaner city.
Manvel Alur in Koramangala is part of a team working together to put in place an effective system for solid waste management that sensitises residents, monitors pourakarmikas and contractors and coordinates with the BBMP. Proper segregation of solid waste is the first step in all waste management. The team has gone door to door explaining its importance and interacted with the pourakarmikas to ensure that they also understand why it’s being done. (While some residents are eager to comply, others complain that even if they segregate their garbage, it is all mixed up in the tempo or truck that takes it away.)
The team, which is part of the Koramangala Initiative for a better Koramangala, hopes that in time it will be able to put in place a system with which dry and wet solid waste will be collected separately. "It is essential that we reduce the quantity of waste generated at source so that disposal does not become such a big problem," says Alur.
As part of the Koramangala Initiative the team is also enrolling suchi mitras for each street to monitor garbage collection – from residents segregating waste, to pourakarmikas collecting it on time and transferring it as segregated, and working with the contractor and BBMP to iron out any issues. It is also working with the BBMP to identify suitable collection points. Collection points are usually locations on the street or an empty space, where all the garbage collection tempos or push carts congregate to transfer it all to the truck which takes it away for dumping.
In Vijayanagar too plans are afoot to improve the state of solid waste management in the area. The Vijayanagar Nagarika Vedike, which meets once every few months organized a two-day workshop for 80 pourakarmikas to sensitise them to the importance of their job and inculcate in them a sense of pride towards their work. Says M Jagannath, an area resident, "The problem of garbage is a major issue in our area and invariably comes up for discussion at every meeting."
While citizens are happy that the old system of garbage bins at every corner has been done away with, they are not pleased to see garbage collection happening on their streets or in some public utility site close to their homes. The BBMP needs to identify suitable collection points in each area as part of an overall effort to streamline solid waste management. Currently, collection points are decided ad hoc by the contractor since the BBMP has not specified any particular areas where it should happen.
Complains Bhaskar Murthy, President, Federation of Jayanagar Residents’ Associations, "The BBMP asked us to identify a suitable collection point. But, it’s really difficult to get such a place in Jayanagar." Says a contractor on condition of anonymity, "The BBMP needs to identify suitable collection points so that we can do our job properly. Residents complain but our hands are tied. We need a better system in place for solid waste management."
133, 1st A Main, S.T. Bed Layout
4th Block Koramangala
Bangalore – 560034
Vijayanagar Nagarika Vedike
BBMP Health Office
(South Zone), 9th cross
2nd Block, Jayanagar
Bangalore – 560011
It maybe time for the BBMP to take stock of the existing system and fine tune it. But S P Nagaraj, BBMP Health Officer (South Zone) says, "We have no plans at the moment to finetune it. The existing system can work well if implemented properly." According to him, collection points are not an issue. He says the collection points have been identified by the BBMP in consultation with the garbage contractors. But, obviously residents have not been consulted since.
There is little doubt that for effective solid waste management in the city the BBMP, residents’ welfare associations and contractors have to work together to a plan.