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Bengaluru’s garbage raises a stench in nearby districts

The garbage generated by Bengaluru is raising a stink in areas even as far away as the industrial town of Bidadi, some 35 km south-west of the city.

india Updated: Dec 30, 2016 07:19 IST
Vikram Gopal
Vikram Gopal
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
Bengaluru,Solid waste management,Sanitation
The site next to the Bengaluru-Mysuru Highway in the Bidadi town limits where garbage from Bengaluru is illegally dumped.(Vikram Gopal/Hindustan Times)

The garbage generated by Bengaluru is raising a stink in areas even as far away as the industrial town of Bidadi, some 35 km south-west of the city.

Karnataka’s capital, also known as the Silicon Valley of India, generates 3,700 tonnes of garbage a day, but is fast running out of space to dump them. It has forced a desperate Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to scout for new landfills and even stealthily dump wastes in the night in unsuspecting towns outside the city limits.

Things have now come to a pass and residents of Bidadi are up in arms. The town generates four tonnes of solid waste daily and is unprepared to deal with the garbage foisted on it by Bengaluru.

“We have decided to set up three-four CCTV cameras on the Bengaluru-Mysuru highway because trucks carrying waste come here in the night and dump the waste by the side of the highway and set fire to it,” said MK Shivakumar, the chief officer of the Bidadi municipal council.

A sum of one lakh rupees has also been earmarked for the purchase of CCTVs for “catching the culprits”.

Bengaluru’s waste is raising a stench even in Madhugiri of Tumakuru district, about 100 km away. Reports of BBMP surveying a land for a proposed waste disposal site have led to disquiet in Madhugiri.

“We will never consent to such a move. We have heard of the problems faced by the villages that live near landfills in Bengaluru’s vicinity. We will never agree to the destruction of our environment,” said GC Shankarappa, a local farmer leader.

According to him, the land surveyed is near the Jayamangali blackbuck conservation reserve. “We have reserved that land for the blackbucks to graze on. If that is converted to a garbage dump, the blackbucks might wander into our fields and this could lead to conflicts with these animals with whom we have lived peacefully so far,” Shankarappa pointed out.

But Bengaluru civic officials say the need for new landfills is dire. According to data of the Central Pollution Control Board, the city generates the fifth-highest volume of garbage among all cities in the country. Its amount of waste doubled from 1,669 to 3,700 tonnes a day between 2005 and 2011.

In the past, the waste was mostly sent to landfills on the outskirts. But as the city grew and the landfills were swallowed by the expanding city, the authorities have had to push deeper into the hinterland.

Court orders for setting up decentralized ward-level waste processing centres within the city have not helped much to clean up the act.

Sarfaraz Khan, the joint director for the city’s solid waste management, pointed out that non-availability of land was the problem. “People are refusing to give up land to facilitate this. This is the reason we are scouting land in the neighbouring areas. We need a 1,000-acre plot where we can set up a processing unit,” he explained.

Even existing compost generating units are attracting public ire, as in HSR Layout area, where residents have petitioned the chief minister, demanding its relocation.

“The plant was built in 1968, so the residents of the area cannot complain now about the stench emanating from it. Anyway, we are trying to install bio-filters to quell the stench, so they should cooperate,” said Khan. Dealing with waste is proving to be a big headache for Bengaluru.

First Published: Dec 28, 2016 14:37 IST