Pilot project on garbage throws out dismal results

The pilot failed mainly because of two reasons: Unwillingness of people to segregate, and mixing up of garbage by waste collectors.

A waste dump in Kadu Malleshwara ward continues as ever, even after the pilot project came into being. Pic: Shree D N

One thing religiously practised by every citizen when it comes to failure of any project: Blame the government. But this time citizens too have equal blame to take. The citizens of Bangalore seem to have forgotten the garbage crisis which erupted last year distorting the sight and smell of the garden city.

The target was to achieve 80 percent waste segregation at the source within eight weeks. But a status report on Kasa Mukta project projects a low success rate of 40 to 50% in segregation front and mere 10 percent (approximately) in processing front.  This means the target of six months set by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah for making Bangalore garbage-free seems to end up as yet another false assurance. But the difference this time is, government is not only to be blamed for this low success rate, but the citizens too.  

The study has been conducted by Wake Up Clean UP, an initiative of Solid Waste Management Round Table, to analyse the success and failures of the pilot project of Kasa Mukta launched on July 24 this year, in chosen 22 wards in the city. The detailed status report submitted to BBMP points out many loopholes in the execution level.

Segregation doesn’t appeal to people

The front-end and the key part of the project where the citizens are directly involved is segregation at source. While starting the Kasa Mukta project it was predicted that with continuous efforts, the quantity of waste segregated at source would increase on a weekly basis, crossing 80 percent after an eight-week period.

But inspite of massive campaign and awareness programmes and inspite of High Court mandate of making segregation of waste at source mandatory, Bangaloreans seem to be less sensitive and less cooperative with regard to garbage issue. In these 22 wards where Kasa Mukta Project is on, the segregation level has reached only 40 to 50 %.  

Pilot implemented only in blocks!

According to the report, there’s only one ward where it has been claimed to have achieved 100 percent segregation at the source level – Rajmahal Guttahalli. Wonder how? There is in fact nothing much to celebrate about this – because in this ward, Kasa Mukta has been implemented in only one place – that is Lower Palace Orchard apartment.

Kadu Malleshwara,  another ward which has shown 75pc success rate, has the programme launched only in one block, not the entire ward. This clearly shows that the strategy of block-level focusing has proved to be successful. But the tragedy is that, the plan of gradually expanding the project to other blocks never happened and the focus was never shifted to other blocks.

Wake up – clean up
♦  Don’t be cynical about the project. Do your duty. Segregate your waste.
♦  Segregation doesn’t demand any extra time, it just needs a one-time planning with separate bins for different waste.
♦  Complain about black spots (garbage dumps) to the Assistant Engineer and Executive Engineers of your ward.
♦  For any Kasa Mukta-related issues complain to the Corporator, EE and also log a complaint in the Wake Up Clean Up website.

‘You segregate, we mix’

The Kasa Mukta has the tagline ‘Mix MaaDabedi’ – ‘don’t mix.’ However, even when people segregate waste, the official machinery that collects the waste itself mixes the segregated garbage.

The report points out that the collected segregated waste which is already less in quantity is also being mixed by the collectors. In some wards of South and East Zone, segregation level is higher than the average. But this effort is in vain, as segregated waste is being mixed post-collection by Pourakarmikas here. This is happening not only because of lack of facilities to transport the segregated waste to the destination point, but also because of lack of awareness among Poura Karmikas.

Dry spell in DWCC

In the back end system the only one facility which was ready in all the 22 wards before starting the pilot project was Dry Waste Collection Centre. All 22 wards are having functional DWCCs, but it has utterly failed in the utilisation aspect. Except in some wards the quantity of collected dry waste reaching DWCC is very minimal.

Major portion of the high grade dry waste is being diverted to scrap dealers by collectors and low grade wastes which are not accepted by the scrap dealers are going to landfills with mixed waste. There seems to be a lobby at work that doesn’t want the Dry Waste Collection Centres to function.

Lacunae in Back-end support  

The main purpose of the whole project was to minimise the quantity of waste which goes to landfill, by processing the segregated waste. But this also has failed as only about 10-12 % of the waste is getting processed, leaving the huge junk to landfill. This is mainly because of lack of facility to process wet waste and also because in some places though it is segregated and labelled wet waste, it is mostly mixed.

Zonal level success statistics in 22 wards



Quantity collected

Level of segregation

Quantity processed

West Zone

159.9 tons/day


2.9 tons/day

South Zone

89 tons/day

40 %

12.9 tons/day

East Zone

54 tons/day


2.15 tons/day

R.R Nagar

19.9 tons/day


3.9 tons/day


47 tons/day

35 %

9.2 tons/day


29.6 tons/day

50 %

7.9 tons/day


13.2 tons/day


2.2 tons/day


412.9 tons/day


41.15 tons/day

Fine, strict measures recommended

The report suggests certain changes to be made and the system tightened before expanding the Kasa Muktha project to other 93 wards. These include:

  • Implementation of the penal provisions, with reference to households who are not segregating their waste. (More than Rs 9 lakh has been collected till now as fine.)

  • Identifying the party responsible for escalating complaints as well as levying fines on households for non-segregation of waste.

  • Motivating PKs and citizens to ensure that mixed waste is neither handed over nor collected.

  • Ensuring that different streams of waste remain segregated and are sent to the appropriate processing units.

  • Restructuring at the zonal level to allow for better and stringent supervision of the entire system.

According to Kalpana Kar of Wake Up Clean UP, “The low success is because of many factors. We cannot change habits overnight. The faith has to be cultivated between the BBMP and residents. The areas where the project has been most successful is where citizens participated actively and took the lead. So educating the citizens and PKs is very important. Policy and penal provisions that are being worked upon alongside.”


  1. Max Payne says:

    I remember reading an international study sometime ago on attitudes to social issues and civic awareness programs. The study said that usually only 20 per cent of people are motivated in a population by such awareness programs. While this is important, most others have to be shown the stick for them to act. So incremental penal provisions have to be implemented for those reluctant to follow the garbage segregation and disposal plans. Lot of people are very callous about the garbage they create and dispose. In many houses maids deal with the garbage and the house owners or residents have to instruct and supervise this activity.

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