Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My yard is not your dumping ground

My yard is not your dumping ground
Bengaluru,


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The problem of vacant sites being used as garbage dumps is no more confined to poor neighbourhoods.

It is also becom- ing rampant in posh localities in the city, making the lives of people in the vicinity miserable. To do away with the nuisance, owners of these sites should join hands with civic authori- ties to keep the city clean, say, Akanksha Mehrotra and Chandrashekar G.

The law clearly lays down that BBMP health officers must give notices to the owners of the sites in question to clear the garbage and do the job themselves if there is no response.
They can later collect the cost of cleaning from the owners.

While Bengaluru is slowly turning into a concrete jungle with high rises and large apartment blocks coming up in almost every locality, there are the odd vacant sites still strewn around. Although they offer precious lung space, some become a nuisance with time as the passersby use them as free urinals and the people in the neighbourhood and the BBMP's pourakarmikas themselves turn them into garbage dumps.
The problem is not confined to poor neighbourhoods but is also common in many posh localities of Bengaluru, where large mansion-like homes stand next to vacant sites full of garbage, making the lives of people in homes along the street, a living hell. Not only do they have to put up with the unbearable stench , but

also the rodents and snakes that emerge from the garbage heaps that only grow with time. The problem worsens during the monsoon, when water logging on the sites creates more of a mosquito menace than usual. A former president of Kumara Park Residents Welfare Association and member of SolidWaste Management Round Table, Ramakanth, says the law clearly lays down that BBMP health officers must give notices to the owners of the sites in question to clear the garbage and do the job themselves if there is no response. They can later collect the cost of cleaning from the owners as part of their property tax, he explains.
“However, the problem is that the law is not being enforced. In my locality there are so many vacant sites that are entirely neglected by the owners.

When we go to the revenue department to find out who the owners are and where they can be contacted, the officials are of little help,” he complains.

Aramanenagar corporator D. Shivaprasad points out that not only do the heaps of garbage dumped on vacant sites give rise to diseases like malaria, dengue,

chikungunya, and allergies, the lichet produced from the piles of garbage contaminates the underground water table making the water unfit for drinking.
“BBMP spends over Rs 200 crore annually on door to door collection of garbage and transportation to the dumping yards. But this is clearly a waste of money as the garbage does not seem to be reaching the dumping yards for scientific processing,” he observes, deploring that in many cases the pourakarmikas themselves dump garbage on vacant sites.But people too are to blame , in his view, as many homes use the vacant sites in their neigbhourhoods to dump garbage. “Unless the people join hands with the BBMP in keeping the city clean, the job cannot be done,” he stresses.

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