Around one-and-half years ago when the city was in the grip of a garbage crisis, segregation of waste at source was hailed as a “fail-proof” solution towards solving the problem. Though segregation of waste at source was made mandatory in October 2012, it is now clear that the civic body has failed in implementing it.

The reasons for the failure in implementation is attributed to the unholy nexus between the garbage mafia, elected representatives and Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials. Solid waste management experts had, in fact, even joined hands with the BBMP and trained the pourakarmikas, garbage supervisors and sensitised the officials. However, the BBMP’s ambitious plans have been put on the backburner.

Experts believe that if properly implemented, segregation of garbage will drastically reduce the quantum of waste going to the landfills. It is believed that roughly 30 per cent of waste generated is dry waste such as paper, plastic, metals and glass that can be recycled. The wet waste could be composted and only inerts could be sent to the landfills. The reduction of the quantum of waste going to landfills was mooted as a win-win situation for the BBMP that could not only cut transportation costs but also ensure that communities living around the landfill sites do not suffer from pollution.

The garbage contractors, who play an integral role in the implementation of the segregation of waste at source policy, are non-cooperative. Moreover, after segregation was made mandatory, not many citizens complied with it. With no facilities to collect the segregated waste and process them separately, the pourakarmikas were forced to aggregate the waste.

Ever since that, citizens, who earlier were segregating waste, are feeling discouraged. They believe that segregation is a futile exercise. For this to change, the pourakarmikas must be properly equipped to collect the segregated waste, while contractors must provide separate vehicles to transport it.

The need of the hour is not just a change in the attitude of citizens but it is equally important for BBMP officials to ensure that there is a system in place to ensure that the segregated waste is processed differently.

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