Wake up and smell the garbage

Drivers and cleaners of the garbage trucks at Malleswaram in Bengaluru. File Photo: K. Gopinathan  

We instinctively pinch our noses when a loaded garbage truck passes by. Do we ever stop to wonder about that worker sitting atop the heaped garbage in the truck, without even the rudimentary safety equipment like a face mask or a pair of gloves?

While there have been great many fiery debates on the question of garbage disposal and segregation in Bengaluru, rarely have the thousands of pourakarmikas who keep the city clean figured in them. Maara, a media and art collective in the city, is keen to take Bengalurians on an unusual walk to wake them up to the plight of pourakarmikas.


Titled ‘The Olfactory Chambers of Ward No. 88’, the walk organised on Sunday will take the walkers through the drains and dumps of Indiranagar and facilitate an interaction with the workers who deal with the garbage.

“There are walks that take people through beautiful places and heritage sites. We are using the same concept to question the urban experience,” says Angarika Guha of Maraa. “Our engagement with garbage ends at our doorstep or at best keeping our locality clean. The workers engaged in the cleaning process are invisible.”

The research that the organisation has undertaken over the last month has been concentrating on questioning the very process of the production of waste. “Through this, we are at a larger level trying to challenge and inquire into the notion of development,” says Ms. Guha.


The Facebook page of Maara describes the walk thus: “The walk is olfactory. The walk is a provocation. The walk is a call to introspect.” Those who want to participate in the walk can call Angarika Guha on 9880159484. People can join the walk either at 8 a.m. or at 5 p.m.

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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 12:37:37 AM |

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