Confusion over the BBMP’s solid waste management plan

Several measures taken up by the BBMP have taken solid waste management towards mixed waste, waste-to-energy (WtE) plants and dumping in landfills.

Several measures taken up by the BBMP have taken solid waste management towards mixed waste, waste-to-energy (WtE) plants and dumping in landfills.   | Photo Credit: V Sreenivasa Murthy;V Sreenivasa Murthy -

Civic body is talking of segregation at source but implementing mixed waste processing

Segregation-at-source or mixed waste processing: what exactly is the plan of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) for the approximately 4,000 tonnes of garbage that the city generates each day?

The civic body claimed in the High Court that it will implement ward level composting of waste on Tuesday, for which segregation of waste at source is a pre-requisite. Ironically, several measures taken up by the BBMP have in fact taken solid waste management towards mixed waste, waste-to-energy (WtE) plants and dumping in landfills.

The High Court has directed the civic body to make all seven composting plants, running below capacity (only 20% of capacity), operational to compost the city's wet waste. But as segregation of waste at source has failed to hit optimal levels and plants face protests from locals living nearby, the BBMP has been dumping mixed waste in landfill quarries.

“What is worrying is that the BBMP is taking no steps towards segregation and composting, but dragging the city in the opposite direction towards WtE plants that take mixed waste,” said N.S. Ramakanth, member, SWM Expert Committee.

Leo Saldanha of Environment Support Group said contrary to the High Court order on segregation of waste at source, the BBMP recently signed MoUs with French firms to implement WtE technology that essentially takes mixed waste at Chikkanagamangala and Doddabidarakallu plants, two of the seven plants the High Court has asked to restart.

Sources said all MoUs the BBMP has signed with various firms to install WtE plants have in total committed over 2,000 tonnes of mixed waste, a clear deviation from the mandate of segregation and composting.

Sarfaraz Khan, Joint Commissioner, SWM, BBMP, argued that the WtE technology being implemented was not polluting as it was not based on incineration (burning waste), but essentially bio-methanisation plants and only RDF will be incinerated.

“In our experience, we have found segregation at source can only reach optimum levels but not 100%. When technology is available where mixed waste can be separated at the plant and be processed as per SWM Rules – 2016, we see no problem with opting for the same,” said another senior official, indicating the civic body's tilt towards WtE technology.

However, the civic body maintains they are working towards ward level composting of waste. “Sixteen wards have identified space for a composting unit whereas 50 wards have said they have no space. The rest have not replied. The BBMP has also begun work on four plants of five-tonne capacity each in Koramangala alone,” Mr. Khan said.

Pourakarmikas protest in Mahadevapura

Hundreds of pourakarmikas from Mahadevapura zone protested on Wednesday over non-payment of salaries since January.

“Over 700 pourakarmikas from 17 wards, who are working on the ground, are not included on the rolls,” said Lekha Adavi, BBMP Guttige Pourakarmikara Sangha.

Bank pass books and ATM cards of most of these pourakarmikas are still with the garbage contractors, who have ensured that many genuine pourakarmikas are not enrolled on the biometric rolls and include ghost workers on the rolls, the sangha alleged.

BBMP officials on the ground are asking proof of PF and ESI payments for the past two years as proof of work. But since the contractors have not paid PF and ESI regularly, these workers are now in jeopardy, Ms. Adavi said.

Sarfaraz Khan, Joint Commissioner, SWM, BBMP, said that Mahadevapura zone had seen issues with biometric rolls since the contractors had manipulated the process and got many ghost workers on the rolls. “We had held back payments since we need to first verify the genuineness of the rolls. Issues of contractors not paying PF and holding back bank pass books have come to our notice. We have directed officials to include those pourakarmikas after verification. We are also opening new bank accounts for such pourakarmikas,” he said.

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 2:30:52 AM |

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