When the public sees garbage heaps, it doesn’t think twice about adding waste
A considerable quantity of garbage collected from locality mushrooms in the same area instead of being transported to the designated landfills, reveals a report of a pilot project carried out by a private data solutions company to assist the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) in addressing issues related to garbage at the Konena Agrahara ward.
The project outcome was submitted to a Division Bench of the Karnataka High Court comprising Justice N. Kumar and Justice B.V. Nagarathna on Tuesday during the hearing of public interest litigation (PIL) petitions on Bangalore’s garbage problems.
Navigem Data Pvt. Ltd., which did the pilot project free of cost for the BBMP as part of the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) after the BBMP accepted its proposal to carry out the study, pointed out in its report that garbage ‘mushrooms’ are coming up near electrical transformers and vacant sites, where the transporters are unofficially dumping portions of the garbage they are supposed to lift.
In Konena Agrahara, the report pointed out, the approximate accumulation of garbage in the form of mushrooms could be around 500 metric tonnes and these could be lying there for months or years. The report has identified at least 52 mushrooms in Konena Agrahara lying there for months and even years. The report points out that it is a huge quantum of garbage accumulation compared to daily collection of around 16 to 19 tonnes per day in the ward.
When contacted, Madhu Kongovi, chief executive officer, Navigem, told The Hindu the mushrooms have cropped up as the transporters are trying to “sweep the garbage under the carpet”, while trying to keep the official pickup and satellite points clean.
This, he said, was because they are not equipped to transport entire the quantity of collected garbage to landfills in one go.
“What we observed was that people don’t start dumping trash in vacant sites by themselves. But when they see an existing waste pileup they don’t think twice about adding to it. This is how garbage mushrooms are born. With time, these mushrooms get only bigger,” he pointed out.
Mr. Kongovi, however, said that mushrooming should end once the segregation at source and waste collection from bulk generators are streamlined as it reduces nearly 50 per cent of the total garbage to be transported to landfills.
“Seventy per cent of mushrooms are on vacant sites and around transformers,” the report pointed out.
He said that a team of eight persons kept a close watch on garbage, generation, collection and transportation for about eight weeks, collected necessary data and analysed them using mathematical and statistical data analysis tools.
The report also disclosed that only 10 per cent of the ward segregates the waste and door-to-door collection is only to the extent of 58 per cent.
In its recommendations, the report stated that hoardings and posters, debris and dig-ups created by BWSSB and Bescom, debris of trees pruned by Bescom and dumping of illegal construction materials had to be regulated. It also recommended working of garbage collectors and cleaners in two shifts — 6.30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. instead of the present 6.30 a.m. to 2.30 p.m.