The Ugly Indian releases blackspot fixing report card

The Ugly Indian presents the examples in Bangalore where citizens changed blackspots into beautiful public spaces, with little help from BBMP.


The Karnataka Chief Minister launched the initiative in 22 Wards on July 24, 2013 to solve Bangalore’s ‘garbage problem’. He promised a Kasa Muktha (Garbage-Free) Bengaluru in 6 months (by Jan 24, 2014).

The ‘garbage problem’ is being addressed at 3 levels:
a) Segregation of garbage – by the citizen
b) Processing of segregated garbage – by the BBMP
c) Elimination of BLACK SPOTS (or open garbage dumps)

Why focus on BLACK SPOTS?

This citizen-driven pilot focused only on eliminating Black Spots. The BLACK SPOT problem is not just a garbage problem – it affects public health, sanitation, pedestrian safety, traffic flow, civic infrastructure, public aesthetics, stray dog and rodent population growth, and crucially, it creates a sense of helplessness and frustration among the people. Whatever else one may do, until the streets are clean, the common man will not consider the garbage problem solved.

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Who did this?

The Ugly Indian (TUI) is an anonymous citizen initiative that focuses on eliminating Black Spots to achieve clean public spaces. There are several chronic BLACK SPOTS in each of Bangalore’s 198 Wards that have persisted for decades – and nobody seems to be able, or willing, to fix them. TUI decided that this problem must be fixed.

Why do BLACK SPOTS form?

Bangalore’s basic Garbage Collection System is flawed and inefficient. The BBMP is supposed to offer door-to-door garbage collection to every household every morning. Street corner dustbins and dumpsters are banned, and no land has been provided for transit storage of garbage or transfer zones. This ambitious system is under-funded and poorly supervised and cannot cope with the rising volumes of garbage generated in the city’s 24×7 work cycle. This results in several leakages (from citizen and BBMP side), which cause open dumps, or Black Spots, at street corners. Though illegal, Black Spots are an accepted, unofficial part of ‘the system’.

What is nGOG?

TUI and TUI-inspired citizen groups developed a method to achieve Kasa Muktha Nela or No Garbage on Ground (nGOG) at the street level. 22 Wards across Bangalore were chosen as sample wards for the citizen-driven Project nGOG . These wards are representative of all types of Bangalore areas – slums, affluent areas, middle-class residential localities, commercial areas, core city areas, far-flung zones, mixed localities, BBMP-controlled wards, contractor-controlled wards and several other parameters. The point was to prove that this BLACK SPOT problem can be solved – wherever it exists.


In the past 6 months, one or more chronic festering BLACK SPOTS in each of these 22 Wards has been permanently eliminated. This elimination was done by anonymous citizens working with local authorities in a methodical manner by addressing the root cause of the problem – the inefficient Garbage Collection System. These were not symbolic one-time clean-up drives for the media – rather, they were real solutions that permanently eliminated the need for open garbage dumps. This involved detailed observations, discussions with all stakeholders (public and BBMP), smart design interventions and silent direct hands-on action (called SPOTFIXES).


All this work was done at ZERO cost to the BBMP, entirely funded and organised by citizens, working in partnership with the local Corporators and BBMP Garbage collectors. The fixed spots have remained clean and there has been tremendous community support for each of these Spotfixes. In most cases, dumps that had persisted for decades are now eliminated.

The cost of fixing a spot ranged from Rs 5,000-15,000 – mainly for materials like paint, cement, bricks and plants – while all the labour was done for free by citizens and BBMP employees. More than money, this kind of SPOTFIXING requires intent, attitude and a willingness to solve problems by involving all stakeholders.

Details of Black Spots eliminated in all 22 Wards are in the slideshow. In addition to these 22 fixes, another 25 Black Spots in these same Wards have also been fixed using the same methods.

Is anybody listening?

Project nGOG demonstrates beyond doubt that the city’s public spaces can be made cleaner by eliminating open garbage dumps. There is no excuse or reason to tolerate garbage dumps on Bangalore’s streets any longer. All it takes is for citizens and BBMP to work together. TUI-style SpotFixing requires no major systemic changes – it can be done within the current system with minimal investment.

KASA MUKTHA Bengaluru can certainly be achieved.

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The content is provided by The Ugly Indian and published as it is, under the Message Forward section, a space meant for non-profit messages by individuals and organisations.

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