Amidst rising stink, BBMP drafts new garbage policy

After sitting on various drafts for over a year now, BBMP says its draft policy is ready for Council approval. Though comprehensive, citizens aren’t confident that it will be implemented as it is.

The uncleared garbage in the city is raising the stink. Residents are unhappy, government departments are pointing fingers at each other, those living near landfills are protesting; but the city still does not have a comprehensive solid waste management policy.

Mavallipura landfill. Pic: Sankar C G

The policy is being drafted for over a year now. Last September, a BBMP official told Citizen Matters that the policy will go for Council approval shortly. One year on, there is no draft policy in sight and not very surprisingly, the same statement is being repeated.

“The policy that we have framed will be sent to the next BBMP council (in September) for approval. Once passed, we will hand it over to the Urban Development Department to make it an Act,” says Hemalatha K, Environmental Engineer BBMP.

The current draft, the officials say, is the modified version of the old Solid Waste Management Rules 2000 with the help of Solid Waste Management Round Table (SWMRT). The new policy insists on segregation of garbage at source level, door to door collection of dry and wet waste separately and decentralised smaller plants at ward level.  The policy also proposes to have a fine up to Rs 1000 for non compliance with the rules.

Penalty will not only be applicable to those who fail to segregate waste at source but also the operator who fails to process waste in an effective way and the contractor who fails to collect waste.

“We worked a month for framing the policy, now we are translating the policy into Kannada . Let the council decide the fate of the policy,” Hemalatha adds. 

Highlights of the draft policy

  • Waste generated by commercial centres should be stored separately in a closed, hygienic condition and hand over to BBMP collectors daily.
  • Those who produce 30 to 40 percent of cities total waste will be considered as bulk waste producers. Separate collection mechanism will be made available for them.
  • Green waste and foliage from BBMP parks and gardens should be collected and converted to organic fertilisers there itself. These fertilisers can be used in the same park itself.
  • It is the duty of the organiser to ensure cleanliness in events organised in public places where Police or BBMP permission is required.
  • The building bye laws should make it mandatory to have separate space for placing common bins near the entrance / guard room in big housing complexes.
  • All vendors/ hawkers should keep their bio-degradable and other waste in containers without mixing.  It will be the responsibility of the generator/vendor to deliver this waste duly segregated to the primary collection vehicle of BBMP.  
  • The operator engaged for door to door collection has to submit the signature of citizens at the end of every month. The signatures will be considered as a proof of the quality of work the operator done. If the operator fails to do so, the monthly payment will not be released to him.
  • Dry waste collection centres will be set up in every wards by BBMP.
  • Segregated wet waste shall be collected at the door step and directly transported to the processing site.
  • If the distance to the processing sites is longer, BBMP will establish transfer stations. It is economically viable than transferring the waste in the smaller vehicles to long distances.
  • Adequate number community bins will be provided. These bins will be of different colors for wet and dry waste and may have pictorial information of respective type of garbage that can be put into them.
  • BBMP will find out proper and adequate land fills.
  • BBMP will be responsible for the proper management of biomedical, electronic and plastic wastes.

On the delay in formulating a policy, she says, “For the effective waste management we need to have public participation but it was not there. So we are planning to have a rule for the effective management of waste and to penalise citizens who violate solid waste management rules.”

N S Ramakanth, member of Solid Waste Management Roundtable, considers it as first phase for the enforcement of proper solid waste management rules.

“We did not have a strong base for managing the waste. But by framing the policy we have created a material to make it as a rule about which we have been talking since ten years,” says Ramakanth.

Segregation at source

Citizens have to segregate waste at house level.  They need to separate mixed waste into organic, inorganic, recyclables and hazardous wastes.

“Once they do the segregation of waste, we will collect it door to door on a daily basis. Recyclable waste material other than toxic and hazardous waste will be collected once in a week,” says Hemalatha.

Dumping garbage at Mavallipura landfill. Pic: Sankar C G

“Waste such as used batteries, chemicals, pesticides, and other toxic or hazardous household waste need to be kept separately. We will collect that once in a month,” she adds.

Decentralised smaller plants at ward level

The new policy proposes to have waste treatment plant at each ward.  Then the segregated organic waste collected at door to door would be transported to the treatment plant located in the ward itself.

Meenakshi Bharath, an activist, working for Solid Waste Management (SWM), feels that, by doing this we can substantially reduce the transportation costs and the amount of waste reaching the landfill site.

“A large portion of the municipal budget on SWM is spent on transporting the waste to the landfills. This consumes huge quantity of fuel, man-hours, and contributes to degradation of fragile city environment,” says Meenakshi.

Committee to monitor

It also proposes to form two committees a technical committee to give technical advices and a monitoring committee to monitor the whole system of waste management.
The technical committee is supposed have the Chief Engineer, Executive Engineer and Environmental Engineer representatives from Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), Indian Institute of Science, Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation (KUIDFC), Directorate of Municipal Administration (DMA) and two representatives from NGO. The committee will issue all the technical guidelines and recommendations to execute the SWM policy.

The monitoring committee will have a technical team from BBMP and the experts from the outside. This committee will  receive complaints and find solutions accordingly. The committee is also supposed to review the whole process in compliance with the waste management rules. Periodical inspections on decentralised plants and landfill sites will also be conducted by the committee.

Vested interests preventing policy implementation?

N S Mukunda, convener of Citizens Action Forum, feels the draft policy unless implemented strictly is not useful and vested interests might prevent the implementation. “The contractors, politicians and other officials are making money with the present system. If the system changes those people may lose their revenue so they would not welcome the change.”


  1. Achala Hariprasad says:

    Thats wonderful. My doubt: V are in an appartment. Will the muncipality come to every apartment or if we are disposing in the apartment’s main big waste can is it ok if all 36 flats will pack organic waste in plastic bags. Then the idea doesnt work as plastic is not organic. You must also inform people to put organic waste in paper and put it in the organic waste bin. or muncipality representatives should come to each flat and pick the organic waste and inorganic waste individually. Things are not clear Could you please give me the solution?

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