Russell Market on clean up mode

An initiative to segregate waste was launched at the Russell market recently. This was a joint effort by BBMP and the SWMRT, a citizen's forum.

As part of the  "How to make Bangalore clean" drive BBMP and Solid Waste Management Round Table (SWMRT) were at Russel Market to educate the vendors at Russell Market, Shivajinagar on waste segregation at source. The drive was launched on November 14th.

Built in 1927 Russell Market is still one of the most crowded and famous markets in the city, known for its variety of meat and seafood. Some of the rarest, exotic vegetables, fruits and flowers can also be found in Russell Market. One of the predominant reasons Russell market has lost its charm is the fact is the issue of hygiene. The waste is strewn all over.

Dr Meenakshi Bharath of SWMRT, talking to a vendor during the cleanup drive. Pic courtesy: Urban Vision.

Every day tons of dry and wet waste is disposed off in Russell Market without any segregation at source. This makes it impossible to reuse or recycle the waste. Everyday tonnes of waste is sent from the city to Mavallipura and Mandur dumps without prior segregation. During rains, the dump yards overflow contaminating the soil. Surrounding villages have been complaining as this causes unhealthy living conditions for the villagers.

This awareness campaign is an attempt to decentralise the waste collection, ensuring at source segregation of dry and wet waste. This would result in only 8-10% of the total waste generated reaching the land fill. In future, waste could be converted into compost and biogas which can be sold to generate extra revenue.

Member of SWMRT, N S Ramakanth said "A similar attempt collaborative effort was made by the SWMRT Members and the BBMP in City Market where the vendors were taught at source segregation and this was collected in separate bags and the vendors were paid about 2 Rs per Kg which is an incentive for these shopkeepers. Further to this even thermocol, which is the mail packing material is stored and collected separately." SWMRT is following up on that initiative.

The entire process has been documented and made into a film which was at display in the market space. After the briefing, the vendors were provided with bags to store the dry waste, which would be collected by ITC. The company is helping the whole initiative under its CSR activity. They buy paper and plastic from the vendors and recycle it. This drive aims at rendering Russell market a zero waste zone in the near future. The SWMRT members will be involved in this and ensure that the segregation continues.

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