Pollution board asks BBMP to submit action taken report on landfill closure

There appears to be no end in sight to the city’s garbage woes as residents of the villages surrounding Mavallipura area are digging in their heels over resumption of dumping at the landfill.

A day after the State government declared that operations will begin again at the Mavallipura landfill, residents gathered at the road that leads to the dump early Thursday to prevent garbage trucks’ entry. Tension heightened with the presence of a large police contingent at the site.

Protester dies

Matters took a turn for the worse when a protester, Srinivas (37), collapsed in the morning and died before reaching the Baptist Hospital on Bellary Road. Though hospital sources said only a post-mortem could pinpoint the cause of death, the protesters said a verbal duel with the police caused the father of three immense stress, leading to his death.

The argument

In the evening, officials from the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) and the Bangalore Rural Police visited the landfill. When Bangalore Rural Superintendent of Police D. Prakash tried to reason with the protesters saying their intransigence could contribute to epidemics in the city, the latter retorted saying their lives cannot be put at risk for the sake of Bangaloreans.

“We would not have protested had the landfill been maintained scientifically. It will take at least 20 years for the present volume of garbage to be cleared. We don’t have clean drinking water and have to buy it from 10 km away. Eight persons here have died since 2000, but no compensation has been offered. Let the BBMP find another landfill,” said Satish Kadthananda, who was in the forefront of the protest.

“Large amounts of money are being spent in the name of [waste] segregation. But here, we have to endure everything, including medical waste,” pointed out Gopinath Suryanarayana Gowda.

ATR sought

After the meeting, officials informed the residents and presspersons that the KSPCB, which had issued the closure notice to the Mavallipura landfill early July, has asked the BBMP to file an ATR (action taken report) on the landfill.

Nagaraj K.M., Regional Senior Environmental Officer, KSPCB, told The Hindu: “The method adopted to treat garbage at the landfill is not up to the mark. The BBMP will submit a detailed project report (DPR) shortly.”

BBMP Additional Commissioner B.F. Patil, confirming the development, said: “We agree that our follow-up action in Mavallipura has not been up to the mark. We have to look at technical issues such as providing proper transportation, upgrading the treatment plant and segregation at source. We have to submit an affidavit to KSPCB, which we may do on Friday itself.”

Earlier in the day, the Environment Support Group, an NGO, accused Home Minister R. Ashok of arm-twisting the residents into opening the landfill.

Garbage piles up

Meanwhile, Bangalore, caught between the wrangling and a strike by a section of unpaid contract pourakarmikas, continued to see garbage pile up. The evening rain didn’t help: in areas such as Jayanagar and Wilson Garden, overflowing drains washed up garbage right on to the roads.

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