Solid Waste Management in Bangalore
Solid-waste management is the process of collecting, treating, and disposing of solid material that is discarded because it has served its purpose or is no longer useful.
Solid-Waste Management in Bangalore:
- The Municipal Solid Waste Management (MSWM) is one of the major concerns in Bangalore today. Rapid urbanisation and increase in population are the major causes for the increase in waste generation.
- In Bangalore, the first step in the collection of waste is via door to door collection using pushcarts & auto tippers.
- This waste collected from the households is brought to a common point from where it is shifted to the treatment sites through compactors & tipper Lorries.
- A large part of this waste is sent to a compost plant situated outside the city limits and this is handled by Karnataka Compost Development Corporation (KCDC).
- The rest of the waste is dumped in open sites which do not have any waste recycling system.
Solid-Waste Management issue in Bangalore:
- The open sites where the waste is dumped creates a number of adverse environmental impacts such as wind-blown litter, attraction of vermin, and generation of liquid leachate.
- Another common product of landfills is gas (mostly composed of methane and carbon dioxide), which is produced from anaerobic breakdown of organic waste.
- This gas can create odour problems, kill surface vegetation and is a greenhouse gas.
Problem faced people of Mavallipura and Mandur.:
- One such place used as a dump site is the Mavallipura village.
- The accumulated waste discharges toxic leachates and thus contaminates the villages resulting in the spread of diseases.
- The highly toxic leachates that ooze out flow into local wells, streams and lakes without any treatment whatsoever causing extensive damage to health and environment.
- All this has resulted in terrible pollution causing high levels of morbidity in affected communities.
- Many have died of cancer, renal failure, dengue, and gastro-intestinal disorders due to the pollution that has resulted.
- Quite a few deaths were recorded in Mavallipura alone over the past three months due to kidney failure, asthma and jaundice, all of them living in close proximity of the landfill, and who, otherwise, were known to be very healthy.
- Children, women and elderly, are constantly reporting sick with a variety of chronic and infectious diseases.
- Morbidity levels in sheep and cattle is also extremely high, as they end up drinking the contaminated waters from streams and lakes.
- Packs of dogs are attracted to this waste, which includes biomedical waste which is illegally dumped, and quite frequently turn their wild group instincts attacking cattle and sheep that graze in the pastures around the landfill, and sometimes on children in the villages.
- Also, the Mavallipurs landfill is located within the watershed of Arkavathi River and this result in the flow of these toxic discharges into the river from where Bangalore gets a portion of its drinking water.
- The Mavallipura’s residents are the first ones to bear the brunt of this.
- The stench from the waste dump and the pollution is so bad that it has caused many of the residents to leave their village.
- Children are contracting air borne infectious diseases such as pyogenic menigitis and their immunity in general is so weak that they are susceptible to repeated infections.
- The Mavallipura landfills are just 2.5 kms away from the flow of River Arkavathi, a major drinking water source for Bangalore and 5.6 kms from the critical defence facility: Yelahanka Air Force Base.
- Farmlands, forest land and common grazing pastures were converted into massive, messy, unhealthy and highly polluting waste dumps.
- Young men from Mavallipura are facing the prospect of permanent bachelorhood as brides are turning up their noses at their village which has become a huge garbage mountain. Parents of girls who visit the village filled with garbage heaps, low yield giving farms and lack of hygiene; refuse to give their daughters in marriage to boys of Mavallipura.
High Court order and other petitions filed:
- In July 2012, Mr. A. S. Sadashivaiah, IFS (Retd.), Chairman, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), directed the Commissioner of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and the private operator of the city’s major landfill, Ramky Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd., to immediately stop receiving waste into the facility at Mavallipura.
- It also instructed the operator Ramky to process the accumulated waste completely for composting within 3 months in a scientific manner without causing eye sore to the public and health / Environmental hazard and to transport it to another landfill site at Mandur for scientific disposal.
- The Board had threatened that it would initiate penal action against the BBMP as per the Environment Protection Act, if this direction was not complied with. However, even after three months, neither Ramky nor BBMP did anything at all to comply with the clean-up conditions imposed in the Board’s closure order.
- In the meanwhile, KSPCB revoked its ban on dumping.
- Following this, a Public Interest Litigations (PIL) was filed by Environment Support Group (ESG) and others.
- ESG’s PIL challenged the order of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board that temporarily extended authorisation to operate the landfill at Mavallipura, revoking an earlier ban.
- In 22nd November 2012, the Principal Bench of the High Court of Karnataka (comprising Chief Justice Mr. Vikramjit Sen and Justice Mrs. B. V. Nagarathna) issued a series of unprecedented directions on to give effect to progressive handling and management of municipal solid waste generated in Bangalore.
- The High Court has handed down a highly progressive judgement taking into careful consideration both short-term and long-term objectives to resolve the prevailing crisis of waste management. In an unprecedented decision, the Court has directed that all municipal waste in Bangalore will be segregated at source (at the household level), the segregated waste will be transported in that manner to composting and recycling units and no mixing whatsoever will take place in trucks, as is presently the case.
- Keeping this fundamental principle in view, the Court has directed the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP, Bangalore’s municipality) and the Government of Karnataka to ensure that “Segregation and Wet Waste Processing Stations shall be located and made operational in the 28 Assembly Constituencies within two months” from the date of the order.
- The Court sees “this as the first step to be followed immediately by similar Segregation and Wet Waste Processing Stations, in each of the 198 Wards in Bangalore” and that “this exercise (is) to be completed within four months” of 22nd November 2012.
- Keen to ensure that at no time in the future the current messy state of affairs recurs in Bangalore, the Court has also directed that “every ward should have atleast three Segregation and Wet Waste Processing Stations”.
- Bangalore is the first city in India where segregation of municipal waste at source has become mandatory.
- This is a direct outcome of directions issued by the Karnataka High Court responding to a batch of PILs, including ESG’s, about the poor state of managing municipal solid waste and its consequent adverse impacts.
- The Court in its directions has emphasised that public involvement and decentralised efforts are critical for tackling the prevailing garbage crisis.