BBMP has many methods of tackling garbage collection. These include the installation of green and blue bins across the city, for wet and dry waste respectively and underground bins at commercial hubs. Bulk generators are supposed to give their waste to empanelled vendors, while the BBMP is supposed to clear the bins thrice a day. The trouble is, none of these methods work. Bulk generators throw their waste into regular bins, because vendors charge a fee, creating blackspots where there were none. BBMP officials are unable to make more than one trip a day because of queues at landfills. And the bottom line is, poor civic sense overall. If the solution, as officials say, lies in alternate landfill space and better capacity in waste processing plants, it looks like the wait for a clean city is going to be long one. Aknisree Karthik reports
In 2000, the BBMP decided to do away with cement dustbins, which once stood at the corner of every road in the city, replacing them with door-to-door garbage collection. These cement bins, which were also in residential areas, were used by people to dump their waste, which was then cleared by the corporation.
In 2014, after the door-to-door collection system proved very problematic, leading to pileups of waste on the roads, the BBMP tried to re-introduce the cement bins. This time it targeted area with large floating populations like commercial hubs and shopping complexes. However, the idea was severely opposed. In 2016-27, the civic body introduced the twin bin concept – green bins for wet waste and blue bins for dry waste. These were put up at 2,3332 locations, including shopping areas, slums, arterial and sub-arterial roads and other crowded spots.
Along with these elevated twin bins came underground bins for people to leave their garbage if they miss the collection cycle. While the smaller twin bins could only hold about 200 kilos, the underground bins could hold nearly a ton of garbage.
However, citizens continue to complain. The bins are overflowing most of the time and lots of people simply throw the trash around the bin, instead of putting it inside.
“It is good that people who are not able to give garbage to the pourakarmikas have another option to throw segregated waste at nearby bins,” says Meena Kumari, a resident of Gavipuram. “The issue is that people lack civic sense. First, they do not segregate the garbage into wet and dry waste. Second, they throw the garbage from their two-wheelers as they zoom past. So naturally, it goes everywhere.”
She complains that no matter how many times the pourakarmikas clear the bins, people continue to throw waste according to their whims and fancies. “This should be stopped immediately and violators must be slapped with hefty fines,” Meena says. This is not the case only in Gavipuram but is a problem in nearly every part of Bengaluru that contains these bins.
The green and blue twin bins are facing another challenge, this time from bulk generators. Instead of handing the waste over to empanelled vendors, which is mandatory, they throw garbage into these bins in small installments, to do away with the fee they pay to the vendors.
Swachh Survekshan ranking takes a beating
The city’s Swachh Survekshan rankings have taken a beating because of the absence of public bins. While the bins were introduced with good intentions, trash is not segregated before it is dumped and the bins overflow, with garbage spilling onto the surrounding areas. Naturally, this defeats the very purpose of the bins, which were introduced bearing in mind the Swacha Survekshan ranking.
“The bins were kept to help people out,” laments Jayan, a techie. “Bengaluru is an international city and thousands of people come to the city on a daily basis. The bins have been installed for the convenience of the tourists, and also for the convenience of people who actually live here and travel through the city. Instead, they are misused.”
“We learned that the city has lost a good ranking in the Swachh Suvekshan survey for some years simply because it didn’t have enough bins,” says Shashi Kumar, a businessman. “When the BBMP does actually place the bins, it should also take measures to ensure that they are used properly.” He points out that placing bins will actually make no difference to the ranking if garbage is spilled or the dustbin overflows. “It is the responsibility of people who throw their garbage in these bins to ensure that it is done correctly and also the duty of the BBMP to clear the bins promptly once they are full.” He pointed out that at many crowded places, the bins are always full.
Q&A: Only one landfill, too much waste, BBMP officials can’t keep up
Sarfaraz Khan Joint Commissioner, Solid Waste Mangement BBMP
BBMP introduced elevated and underground bins to prevent garbage blackspots. However, in many places, we find that the places where the bins are placed have turned into blackspots themselves.
Yes, the bins were introduced to prevent the dumping of garbage on the roadsides and streets and also to help people in crowded areas to dispose of their trash. We have been working towards improving the maintenance and the overall conditions of the spots where the bins are placed.
In many places, the bins overflow. When the underground bins were introduced, it was said that the bins would have sensors that would send a message to the concerned officials when it was full. Is this system not working?
The issue is not with the sensors. The issue is with that our men are not able to collect the garbage from the bins more than once a day. Usually, we are supposed to empty the bins thrice a day. However, there is always a huge pileup of vehicles at the landfills (about 300 trucks waiting to unload), so our men are only able to make one trip a day to the landfills. This issue will be addressed only when we have alternate landfills and improve the capacity of the processing plants.
Will awareness drives be carried to educate citizens? What are the steps being taken to curb people throwing trash outside the bins? Will more bins be set up?
Yes we will be taking up awareness drives. However, we will not be able to hire men to monitor the bins, as this is very expensive to do. Instead, we will have marshals making surprise visits. They will keep a look out for those people who dump garbage as they please, or who don’t bother to segregate it and slap them with hefty fines. This should help as a deterrent. Also, in keeping with the Swacha Bharat Abhiyan mission, we are supposed to put up more bins based on a survey.