Marginal improvement in Bengaluru’s Swachh ranking

The city has been ranked 194 out of 425 cities, as compared to 216 in 2018 and 210 in 2017

Published - March 07, 2019 01:27 am IST

Black spots were reclaimed; transfer stations overhauled and compost santhes organised. These were just some of the initiatives launched by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to improve its ranking under Swachh Survekshan 2019 ranking. The result was a marginal improvement in Bengaluru’s performance as it rose by 22 places from 2018. This year, the city has been ranked 194 out of 425 cities, with a score of 2,351.81 out of a total of 5,000. It was ranked 216 in 2018 and 210 in 2017.

BBMP's Special Commissioner (Solid Waste Management) D. Randeep said, “We see this as a positive development, which only pushes us to improve it further next year.”

Each category had a total of 1,250 points. The city scored 970 in the direct observation category, and 738.86 in the service level progress category. However, it lost in the outdoor defecation category, garnering only 25 points. As many as 3,509 citizens gave their feedback, and in this category, the city scored 617.96 points.

Another factor that may have gone against the civic body was that during the time of the Swachh Sarvekshan 2019 survey, the new garbage tenders were not in place. The Open Defecation Free certification, which constitutes a major chunk of marks, did not happen in time, said Mr. Randeep.

“Mysuru and Indore, which have bagged the top ranks, have a huge IEC (Information, Education and Communication) campaign. In Bengaluru, many citizens have given negative feedback,” Mr. Randeep added.

According to civic officials, while visual cleanliness was given emphasis, the BBMP still needs around six months to put in place a garbage collection system that can be monitored and tracked, and establish a ‘smart control room’ for the system.

Waste management experts N.S. Ramakanth and V. Ramaprasad expressed disappointment with the ranking and noted that many cities, even those smaller than Bengaluru, had fared better.

Mr. Ramakanth, a former member of BBMP's Solid Waste Management Expert Committee, blamed the lack of political will. “Door-to-door collection is not up to the mark while segregation at source has failed. This has meant that the processing units are functioning at 20% of their capacity,” he said.

Mr. Ramaprasad pointed out that the BBMP is spending hundreds of crores on SWM, but did not have much to show for it. “Cosmetic changes on the ground will not be of much help. We need proper data to draw up a scientific plan for collection, transportation and processing of waste,” he said, adding that experts from the city, who had helped other cities improve their rankings, were not able to do the same for Bengaluru.

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