To avoid the dumping of garbage in the landfills, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), in the last few years, has set up seven wet waste processing plants in various parts of the city, which, over the period, has had to face citizens’ protests over stench from these plants.
The plants were closed for one reason or the other for at least a few months in a year due to the various court cases. They have been reopened, and are operating in a smaller capacity. According to BBMP officials, the processing plants are operating by taking in limited wet waste to process so that it will not create any discomfort to the public.
For instance, the Lingadheeranahall plant is only taking wet waste from 12 garbage trucks which come from the east zone of the city. A plant manager said, “After repeated protests from residents about the stench, we had to cut down the processing in the plant and allow only limited garbage trucks to process the waste.”
BBMP officials say that various measures have been taken by them to control odour. An official from the east division said, “When it rains, there is no way the odour could be controlled. We had installed bio-filters, but the workers at the plant complained that it was claustrophobic and difficult to work. Earlier, at one plant, at least 200 vehicles used to come. But now, we have allowed only 15 to 20 vehicles after residents’ protest.”
Rajasekhara Murthy, a resident near the Lingadheeranahalli plant, said, “Due to the bad stench, people who have constructed houses here have left them and shifted to other places, while many have not even constructed houses in their plot and planning to sell them, but no one is ready to purchase them due to the processing plants. After multiple protests, the BBMP has reduced the processing capacity, which has now reduced the stench.”
According to the BBMP website, the seven plants now have 1,570 TPD processing capacity. The High Court, on multiple occasions, has directed the BBMP to revive all seven waste processing plants and run them at optimum capacity while pointing out that no one has the authority to shut down waste processing plants.
In the Karnataka Compost Development Corporation, Kudlu, for years, the Kudlu, Hosapalya, Harlur, Somasundarapalya and Prangipalya (KHHSP) Residents’ Welfare Association has been demanding that the plant be shut down if it cannot be run as per the norms.
Prasanna Kumar, a resident who is running a shop near the plant, said, “When the garbage trucks arrive in the morning, it is very difficult and the stench from the plant will be overwhelming since they have not installed air monitors.”
New waste management body
The residents and officials hope that the new waste management body, Bengaluru Solid Waste Management Limited (BSWML) may revive the plants and maintain them as per the standard operating procedures.
An official from one of the processing plants said the new body is yet to take over the plants, but if it does, the plants can be revived and get more funds and come up with solutions to various issues faced by the plants.
Another resident from Doddabidarakallu, Mahesh Kumar, said, “The plant is not adhering to the prescribed norms. Members of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board visited the plant a couple of years ago and found SOPs were not being followed. At least a new dedicated body will come up with solutions, we hope.”
C&D waste processing plants
Meanwhile, the BBMP is planning to set up construction and demolition (C&D) waste processing plants in the city.
A senior BBMP official said, “To clear close to 2,500 tonnes of C&D waste generated in the city, under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, we are planning to set up five new C&D waste processing plants. We are preparing a comprehensive plan for setting up plants.”
The BBMP is currently sending C&D waste to units in Chikkajala, Jigani, and Kannur for processing. At these plants, the concrete part of the waste is separated both manually and using mechanised segregation.
“Magnetic separators are used to pick the metal. The concrete part of the waste will be crushed and washed to make cement kerbs, hollow bricks or manufactured sand. The plastic and wood waste will be sent to waste-to-energy plants. Metal is sold as scrap, thereby ensuring almost all waste is recycled and reused,” an official from BBMP explained.
Rampant illegal dumping of C&D waste continues in the city, though marshals are penalising such people. “Some people dump C&D waste in the late night hours,” said a marshal from the West zone.
According to marshals, C&D waste is commonly found on lake beds and vacant plots in the city.