Residents staying in HSR Layout Sector-2 around Somasundarpalya, Haralukunte Village and Parangipalya in South Bengaluru have been dealing with foul and unbearable smell emanating from the waste composting plant belonging to Karnataka Compost Development Corporation (KCDC) located 2 km away. Some residents claim that the smell reached them even 3 kms away, though of course with less intensity.
At a meeting on Sunday, April 27th, 2014, with the KCDC officials, the Bommanahalli zone BBMP Joint Commissioner Muniraju and his team, and SWM expert Almitra Patel, BBMP Solid Waste Management Chief Engineer Yatish Kumar and others, the residents vented their grievances about the nuisance which is making it difficult for them to live in this area.
Residents face health hazards
Children, adults and senior citizens constantly complain of health problems due to air pollution in the area. Throat infection, burning sensation in eyes, headache, fever and other diseases are very common. Representatives from several apartment complexes in the vicinity complained that they had to keep all doors and windows shut for the greater part of the day. People often gag on the smell and have vomiting tendencies.
The unit was constructed in 1975. It was functional until 2008, but could not process the waste accumulated over the years. The unit planned to upgrade itself and the composting process started again. The problem has been particularly acute over the last five months (since December 2013).
The stench has been observed to be severe, especially during late evenings and early mornings. Some residents say that several petitions between 2005 and 2009 gave only temporary respite, as the stench is back now.
The residents pointed out the following issues:
a) The leachate from KCDC found to pollute Somasundarapalya Lake
b) Mixed waste was being accepted by KCDC
c) The waste that cannot be composed was being burnt along with the garbage on KCDC premises.
d) A road built to give access for trucks to KCDC plant is reportedly being used by a lot of other people to dump debris and other waste. The road is not being monitored. There are also allegations that the road was built by encroaching lake bed.
The SWM Technical Committee members decided to discuss possible technical solutions. There was a meeting of the technical panel with KCDC and a few instructions have been passed on to KCDC on how to control the stench. The results would be visible in next two-three weeks.
The meeting also decided to reach out to KSPCB to get a mobile van for round the clock air quality testing at three different places in affected areas and get the data. The residents were advised to compile the details of the smell with time and date, at six different points for next three weeks.
Selected citizen representatives will work with BBMP officials present at meeting to get vans. A van will be posted on Hosapalya Road next to nursery, another at SV lake view compound wall on the road which leads to KCDC and the third van at Sobha Daffodil apartment which is 1.5 kms away from KCDC.
Residents feel trapped
The residents of HSR Layout and Somasundara Palya suggest the following measures:
1) Residual garbage should be cleaned up from the KCDC premises before accepting new pile of wet waste.
2) Checks and balances with the help of a monitoring committee, to accept only vegetable/ fruit/ organic waste into the KCDC premises, to stop mixed waste from entering the unit.
3) When the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board comes up with their report, residents around the KCDC should be educated about the health hazards if any, both short-term and long-term.
The residents are not clear about the operating perimeter of KCDC, as the dumping activities are seen even outside the barricaded area that belongs to KCDC.
They also wonder how the BBMP gave the permission for buildings to come up in the surroundings of KCDC, as the buffer zone for KCDC is 500 meter, after which humans can be allowed to live. With so many residential apartments built around the area, the residents feel trapped.
How is wet waste processed at the KCDC?
Karnataka composting firm back in the limelight
Mr. Subbaramaiah, I agree with your view point. Farmers are essential and so is compost to them. But its the very Govt that allowed this urbanization phenomenon and they collect a good number of taxes to provide us with clean air, water, at the least, if not others. I personally have no objection to the composting plant right within the city, be it HSR layout or next to MG Road as long as they are maintained technically and scientifically. What is painful is that the authorities have trapped thousands of residents by providing approvals to multi storeyed apartments right in the buffer zone of the composting facility. Its not that the residents who feel trapped have bought these flats with open eyes. They were all probably fooled into believing that the facility was closed now and is not going to be reopened. Some builders even claimed that there would a mini lalbagh coming up in this area after the KCDC is moved elsewhere.
And if it was just composting of organic waste, no one would probably have objected, as long as the facility was maintained cleanly and without stink or harm to the nature or humans. But the current state of affairs at the KCDC unit are far beyond imagination. They have piled up lakhs of tonnes of mixed garbage which they can’t even figure out what to do with it, burn the huge piles of this mixed waste all day and night sometimes, the leachate gets into the somasundarapalya lake and then the stink that makes it hard to live in the buffer zone. I don’t know what the Pollution Board is doing w.r.t this damage to the environment.
I am aligned to organic composting in a scientific manner. What is alarming is the current situation which I believe no one can explain with logical interpretations.
Mr Subbaramaiah you are 100% right. By polluting the mother earth, we are digging our own grave.
From time immemorial we rural Indians lived in villages with compost as it was very essential for Agricultural purposes as our country was once consider the Agriculture as main profession and known as Agricultural Country. After gaining Independence and India become a republic after changed democratic Government there were many reforms not only in the method of Agriculture but also in the Agriculturist. Every thing become sophisticated. Each and every person from Rural areas liked move to urban places to lead a sophisticated life. To encourage such movement our Government also established all the factories and plants in urban areas. Because of this not only Urban areas got polluted but also a large portion of Agricultural lands lost around urban area. What ever the sophistication found inhuman attitude there is no modernisation in technologies adopted in waste management and composting there by the people who were living with compost in Rural Areas now are unable to tolerate the smell created by composting plants in the Urban Areas.
If the concerned authorities are willing to buy and use “BIOMAGIC” – a unique biotech product of 100% Indian invention, the stench can be stopped instantly and the biodegradable solid waste can be turned into compost at a quicker phase. But will they come forward? More details on BIOMAGIC can be had from email@example.com or +91 9952988540 This is not for sales promotion but is for general info only that too in the interest of the suffering residents.