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Updated: August 21, 2013 00:22 IST

Zero garbage scheme scores a big zero

    Chitra V. Ramani
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Vel Singh and his family of six live in Muniyappa Layout in Vishwanath Nagenahalli ward. “The pourakarmika comes to pick up garbage on most days. She blows a whistle. By the time we get down the two flights of stairs, she would have left.” Needless to say, the family knows nothing about garbage segregation.

An apartment complex in Malleswaram Pipe Line in Dattatreya Temple ward houses 34 flats. When the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) made segregation compulsory, the apartment association informed all the residents to only dump wet waste in the bins placed at the basement. Bahadur, the security guard, said the residents have now gone back to the old ways as the pourakarmika mixes the waste.

In the other part of the city, Girija Venkataraman, a resident of J.P. Nagar ward, judiciously segregates the waste generated in her house. The pourakarmika collects the waste separately as well. “She dumps the dry waste in a house in the neighbourhood and clears it once a week. While this is a welcome move, the dry waste seems to be attracting a lot of vermin and mosquitoes.”

The three wards are among the 33 wards in the city covered under the zero garbage programme. While 22 wards are covered by the BBMP, the remaining 11 wards are covered by ITC Ltd.’s Wealth out of Waste (WoW) scheme. It’s almost a month since the zero garbage programme was taken up in the city in these wards. However, even after it was launched, the wards have not really taken to the programme entirely.

The essence of the zero garbage programme is segregation of waste at source. The BBMP officials themselves admit that less than 30 per cent of citizens are segregating the waste. It is evident that segregation is not successful, given the number of black spots in these wards.

BBMP officials told The Hindu that with the strict implementation of zero garbage programme and “destination-bound processing and recycling over 45-60 days,” only rejects and inerts will go to the landfills from these wards. Though the key tenet of the programme is intensive IEC (information-education-communication), many residents in these wards claimed that neither the local councillor nor the BBMP officials had informed them about segregation at source. Another feature of the programme is the “No garbage on ground” principle, which is a mandate of the Supreme Court.

However, with the BBMP not providing the pourakarmikas with even the basic equipment, especially separate bins, the waste collectors have no option but to mix the waste. Kalpana Kar, waste management expert, said that the 22 wards under the zero garbage programme have a road map that they have to follow to achieve their goal. Conceding that there was a two-three week delay in the programme, as different wards took it up at different points, she was confident the programme will be successful.

Organic waste converter

Meanwhile, the BBMP, on Monday, inaugurated an organic waste converter in Rajamahal Guttahalli ward. The converter, which was earlier installed in the Malleswaram market, will be able to convert wet waste into compost. The converter has the capacity to process waste collected for 35 days.

BBMP Commissioner M. Lakshminarayan said that the civic body would establish 205 dry waste collection centres, of which 150 were already in place and 55 were under construction. The pilot project in the 22 wards would later be expanded to cover all the 198 wards.

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