Tuesday, September 07, 2010

A load of garbage is destroying us

A load of garbage is destroying us

Prahlad Rao



A city which woke up rest of India on cleanliness is still struggling to cobble a comprehensive policy on garbage disposal. Solid waste management rules were framed in 2000 after the SC intervention due to PIL filed by a member of an NGO from Bangalore.
Since then the city has toyed with various schemes like supporting local initiatives of the residents welfare associations or NGOs and some hi-tech projects of the civic body. Everything that the government or the civic administration claims to have done does not provide a long term vision.
During the debate in BBMP there was talk of revising garbage collection contracts. The change that was tossed around pertains to giving contracts to two or three wards instead of current eight wards per contractor. If the proposal is passed it would mean too many contractors.
This step is devoid of any rationale as garbage disposal works on volumes. More the volume of collection better will be the incentive to deploy modern means like collection trucks with lids.
Take a look at what has been achieved till now. For the start, there is no plan to acquire a permanent landfill. Even Mavallipura landfill is mired in controversy because of health hazards.
But the solid waste management is not just about land fills, collection contracts or the recent talks of garbage cess.
The garbage management starts with the households, eateries and corporate entities. It is about the culture of garbage generation at these places and its storage before disposal. The households have to develop a culture or at least a habit of generating less garbage, be it the use of tissue paper or demanding plastic bags every time one buys half a kg of sugar.
The administration is supposed to educate the citizens about the way certain types of garbage pollutes the soil and water. The public should also be told to segregate (degradable and non-degradable) garbage and ensure that the segregated garbage is not mixed by the conservancy staff.
The Supreme Court Committee report, which formed the basis for the court verdict, had also set timeframe for reforms in waste management. These reforms range from awareness programmes for citizens to establishment of landfills. Some of the mandated tasks were: minimization of garbage generation, reuse and recycle, collection, composting, energy recovery and disposal in safe manner.
The deadlines were from six months to 36 months. Unfortunately, these recommendations remain mostly on paper as the administrations play with our lives.
We also resist many ideas in reducing garbage generated in the households and the offices. And this deliberate ignorance is corroding our lives

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