Karnataka Composting Development Corporation (KCDC) in HSR Layout, Bengaluru, is in news yet again. Residents are demanding that the government:
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1. Shift the existing plant immediately to a remote and unpopulated location outside the city limits, as all other options to control the odour from the plant have failed
2. Limit the current intake of the wet waste to 70 tonnes as an interim measure to reduce the smell until plant shifts out to remote location.
3. Clear the Refuse-Derived Fuel backlog, release the encroached land and restores the ecosystem of the lake as per the NGT norms.
Through an online petition, the residents have collected over 3200 signatures in support of this demand.
Why is this important?
The petition explains the reason behind their demand and the efforts they made to set things right at KCDC:
The Karnataka Compost Development Corporation (KCDC) plant at Kudlu has become a major source of air and ground water pollution in Somasundarapalya and adjoining areas of HSR layout, Bangalore. The KCDC plant was created in 1975 to support and strengthen environmentally friendly and sustainable waste management systems outside the city limits. Gradually, the city grew and this area also flourished as it was strategically located between IT corridor of Electronic City and Sarjapura Road. In view of public health and safety, the plant was closed down in 2008.
However, in 2013, an Expert Committee was set up at the behest of High Court of Karnataka to resolve City’s garbage crisis. The committee disregarded the public opinion and overlooked the devastating harm that such a plant would cause to the local environment. They misconstrued the case, ignored the economic and social impact on public health and willfully got the plant reopened and worst of all -got it expanded. Now, KCDC in the middle of densely populated locality with numerous schools, apartments, shops, hospitals and other institutions with population over 25,000. The plant originally meant to process 70 tonnes, now receives 300 tonnes of waste everyday from Koramangala and other parts of southern Bangalore.
The open disposal and unscientific processing of large amount of waste is producing toxic air. A highly unpleasant stench emanating from the plant spreads beyond 2-3 km radius, inflicting untold sufferings on people. The leachate drained into the lake and seepage from open mountain of RDF has severely contaminated the surrounding lake water. The people living in the vicinity of the plant are suffering damaging respiratory and lung diseases, apart from eye and skin problems.
While the local governing bodies have failed to grasp the seriousness of the problem, residents feel completely helpless and exasperated with frequent spells of unbearable stink. Public money worth several Crores has already been spent on many piecemeal solutions which miserably failed to control the disgusting stink. We believe the denial of fresh and clean air is a serious violation of the basic human right of people. The plant is set up right on the bank of Somasundrapalya Lake. It has failed to achieve environmental, economical and social sustainability, which in itself is a grave violation of the SWM rules.
To reclaim our right to breathe clean and fresh air, and live healthy lives, we want the GoK and BBMP to stop ignoring the issue of public health, take immediate measures and work out an effective and time bound solution to this longstanding problem.
If enough Bengalureans raise their voice for the residents of HSR layout and Somasundarapalya breathing polluted air, we will deliver our signature to Chief Minister of Karnataka, Sri K Siddaramaiah, BBMP J.C. SWM, CEO KCDC, MD KCDC and BBMP Commissioner and convince them to immediately shift the plant to a and safe remote location.