Fed up of waiting for the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to resolve their garbage problems, an increasing number of residents’ associations across the city — in Kalyan Nagar, Yelahanka, Malleswaram and East Bengaluru, among others — are managing their own waste disposal system with minimal help from the civic body.
“We have 21 pits, a shredding machine, 13 tricycles for transport, and our own workers who collect segregated garbage from each household. Wet waste is composted and sold as manure at Rs. 12 a kilogram. For this entire service, we take Rs. 25 from each household a month,” said D.S. Rajashekar, who is part of the waste management committee in Kalyan Nagar where close to 2,000 households manage their own waste. He added that each house generates close to 1 kg of dry waste and around 500 gm of wet waste a day.
It is difficult to maintain these operations without adequate funds. “Even we are barely able to make ends meet. The best course of action will be for the BBMP to support such associations. It will be cheaper than giving out contracts,” he said.
“With the garbage crises the city is facing, this is the need of the hour. Such proactive citizens will only aid us,” said Subodh Yadav, Special Commissioner, Solid Waste Management, BBMP.
As the waste management committee member in her apartment complex in Yelahanka, Savita Hiremath introduced community composting, which now has close to 200 households composting their wet waste and handing over dry waste to private vendors.
“Many people here have realised that it is better to manage their own waste than keep waiting for the BBMP to come and collect the garbage,” said Ms. Hiremath.
The Residents’ Welfare Association of Bangalore East has also begun working towards this. In Malleswaram too, there are several households that compost their own waste and residents of many apartment complexes are exploring this option. “I know of around 200 households in the neighbourhood that do this, and hand over dry waste to pourakarmikas,” said Meenakshi Bharath, who began this experiment in her neighbourhood.Citizens shoulder responsibility
Non-government organisations and waste management experts say that citizen apathy about uncollected garbage has been on the steady decline, with more and more people actively seeking them out to use their services as well as to conduct awareness talks on waste segregation, plastic use and composting waste.
“The last one year has seen more people seeking us out. It could be the High Court ruling about garbage segregation or the fact that people are fed up of seeing garbage piled up everywhere. We currently service close to 19,000 households across the city. More and more bulk generators of waste like commercial establishments are also seeking us out,” said Shekar Prabakar from Hasiru Dala, a NGO that uses rag-pickers to collect dry waste from households.