BBMP accepts blame for garbage mess. But what next?

With a near universal acknowledgement of the need to segregate and process solid waste within the city, a meeting organised by a city organisation tried to look at the big picture.

After several months of uncleared garbage raising a stink in the city, Bangalore seems to be having a brief respite from it. The new Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner H Siddaiah has been working to find a solution to the issue that has been affecting the city. However, the Commissioner is well aware that the respite is only temporary and that the Palike cannot rest easy till more permanent solutions are found to manage the estimated 3,500 tonne waste generated in the city. He was speaking at a symposium titled "Solutions to impending public health crisis through governance in Solid Waste Management (SWM), organized by the Namma Bengaluru Foundation (NBF), that is focussed on city issues and Adamya Chetana, a Bangalore-based NGO, on 13 January.

Rajeev Chandrashekar and Ananth Kumar with Mayor Venkatesh Murthy, at a function on Solid Waste Management, held on 1st January. Pic: NBF.

Siddaiah assured that he would strive to find a solution to the waste management but stopped short of announcing any concrete measure that will be take to tackle the issue. "The residents of Mandur and Mavallipura have made it clear in no uncertain terms that they will not allow us to dump anymore garbage in the landfills in their villages. We are doing our best to find an answer but we cannot come up with a fix overnight," he said.

As fingers were being pointed at the BBMP from all quarters, Siddaiah candidly accepted the blame. "I cannot deny any of the charges levelled against us. Yes, we have failed the city. I can only say that I will do everything I can to find a solution. I will start that by trying ease the problems of citizens from Mandur and Mavallipura as they are being affected through no fault of their own," he said.

The high profile symposium was attended by Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrashekar, Lok Sabha MP for Bangalore South and chief patron of Adamya Chetana, Ananth Kumar, BBMP Commissioner H Siddaiah, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) Chairman Dr Vaman Acharya, activist Almitra Patel and several other experts. Several BBMP councillors and citizenry turned up in large numbers.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar said the basic issues were lack of planning and leadership. Ananth Kumar proposed setting up a dedicated Solid Waste Management Committee.

Every speaker stressed on the need to segregate and process solid waste within the city and not depend on landfills elsewhere. Siddaiah rued the lack of space within the city to create centres where organic waste can be collected and composted. "We do not need a large amount of space for this but every place we intend to set up such waste collection centres, citizens object to it and ask us to not set them up in their neighbourhoods," he said.

Speaking about the 11,500 bulk generators that the BBMP has so far identified, Siddaiah stressed that if they are willing to take manage solid waste themselves, he would be willing to eliminate garbage cess levied on those communities.

Dr Vaman Acharya said that too lamented the lack of space to set up waste processing centres. "We have so many companies coming forward with proposals to set up waste processing centres but are not able to find suitable spaces close to the city to set up such units." It was his subsequent remarks that elicited loud applause from citizens in the auditorium. "Nearly all the politicians present here have amassed thousands of acres after they have come into power. Can’t at least a few of you donate a few tens of acres to solve this issue? ," quipped Vaman Acharya.

The question and answer session held at the end to allow the public and the media to interact with the panelists saw questions than answers. Jagannath Shetty, 65, a resident of Vajrahalli on Kanakapura Road, said, "I had come here to vent my frustration against the officials but looking at them bickering amongst each other, there doesn’t seem to be any point in saying anything. I was hoping to find solutions to my problem, though it doesn’t look like I will get any," he said."

The interaction was meant to draw attention to the long term impact of the status of the garbage (mis)management especially on health with the risk of epidemics increasing.

Sudhakar Varanasi, from NBF, says there is a need to look at the space with a larger city-level perspective, given that the reasons for the crisis and appropriate solutions have been already proposed in various fora, and even in the court.

NBF also hoped that citizens and activists use this platform and other such future ones, to ask hard questions of the people in power. However citizens were more focussed on highlighting the basic flaws in the system.

Perhaps, it is because the tiresomeness of the day-to-day problems. Varanasi hopes with more such events, stakeholders will also follow with the next steps. He concludes, "it is a continuous process of citizen engagement, along with experts and authorities, more people need to come on board."


  1. llkumar says:

    WHAT next?While they will collect taxes Citizens and court will have to clean it up(on a lighter note).If I am Commissioner,I will think big and make plans to set up waste conversion energy plants with private participation and look ahead 25-30 years.Immediately I will plan for a segregation for wet and dry waste and haul to some distant government landfil for interim.Segregation will be tendered to private players at the dump yards with precise terms.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Story

Living along a drain: How Delhi’s housing crisis aggravates environmental hazards

The lack of affordable housing for the urban poor living on the streets of East Delhi creates a host of challenges including environmental ones.

Sujanbai, 46, has been living in Anna Nagar in East Delhi for over six years now, earning her living as a street vendor of seasonal fruits. And yet she laments, "There is no space to live in this Dilli. Not even on the footpath. The police come and shunt you out. This is the only space along the nalla (open drain) where I’m able to put a cot for my family to lie on." This space that Sujanbai refers to is the site of a settlement, perched on the ridge of a nalla or drain in Anna Nagar. This was…

Similar Story

Citizens demand consultation for BDA redevelopment, say environmental hazards ignored

Residents say they don't mind redevelopment but it must be done after public consultations and not in violation of the BDA Charter.

The recent approval for revamping seven Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) complexes into retail, multiplex, entertainment centres and offices has not been well received by citizens. Residents say there have been no public consultations and a total lack of transparency. Sneha Nandihal, founder of I Change Indiranagar, says the Detailed Project Report (DPR) is not available in the public domain. "We filed an RTI but received a convoluted response, so we obtained it from other sources." Ajay Reddy, member of third block Koramangala RWA, says the biggest issue is that no public consultation has been done so far: ”We don't mind redevelopment…