Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sites needed to dump waste

Sites needed to dump waste

As Bangalore expands, the BBMP is looking for safe sites to dump the mounting waste. While it is closing illegal dump sites used by contractors, experts want it to focus on the scientific disposal of waste, Bosky Khanna reports

Bosky Khanna

Every day, the city generates about 4,000 metric tonnes of solid waste which is dumped in two landfill sites on its outskirts in Mandur and Mavalipura located 40km and 50km away respectively. But as the city expands, these two sites are becoming too small to handle the additional waste.
Apart from the two, there are many illegal dumping sites. While the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) close these sites, new ones emerge elsewhere posing health risks to residents in their vicinity.
To resolve this problem, the BBMP had proposed to set up four landfill sites across the city. But the idea was shelved due to litigation and non-availability of vacant sites. Two landfill sites set up by the Karnataka State Development Corporation on Mysore Road and in Tara Farm at Dodaballapur were closed due to public agitation and legal issues.
"Bangalore needs more landfill sites. But availability of space is a matter of concern," says MA Baig, BBMP's deputy commissioner in charge of solid waste management.
The BBMP officials say they are following the Supreme Court rules for dumping and composting solid waste in landfill sites. But contractors question this claim.
SN Balasubramani, general secretary of Bangalore City Garbage Contractors and Lorry Owners Association, says that the BBMP is merely collecting the garbage and dumping it. Nothing is being done to scientifically dispose it, compost it and sell the 'gobra' as manure. They have also not created a leaching system by constructing concrete floors.
"There are 30 contractors under the BBMP. Their task is to merely collect waste and dispose it. While the waste should be ideally segregated at the source, it's not done. Of the 4,000 metric tonnes of waste produced, 600 metric tonnes are dumped in Mavalipura and 500 metric tonnes in Mandur. The remaining is being dumped by contractors in various illegal sites. Of the 100-acre landfill site in Mavalipura, 35 acres is used for landfill by Ramkii while the rest is under litigation," he says.
Thus the city has a provision of handling only 1,000 metric tonnes of waste. But as it grows, steps should be taken to clear more waste.

Composting units in your backyard
As the city is struggling to clear the waste generated every day, experts and NGOs want citizens to set up own composting units in their backyard. The plan is feasible and will eliminate the garbage spill on roads made by open trucks carrying them to landfill sites.
Setting up such units is easy and cost-effective. It has been successfully tried in many residential and commercial establishments in the city, says Wilma Rodrigues of Saahas, an NGO.
An apartment complex of about 50 houses needs two tanks measuring 6x4 ft each. The total investment comes to Rs40,000. Residents have to segregate the waste into recyclable and non-recyclable. Recyclable waste comprises paper, bottles and other plastic and e-waste, while non-recyclable waste comprises domestic and sewerage waste.
All recyclable waste is dumped into the well-aerated tank and is closed with a lid after introducing microbial culture like yeast, curd or earthworms. They convert the food waste into composite (gobra) which can be used as manure.
"In some places, there is reluctance as people complain of the foul smell. But it is important for people to realise that it is part of nature and should be returned as manure. With a little investment and segregation of waste at source, the garbage being piled up in the city can be reduced and people can recycle it and use for greening Bangalore,'' she says.
Such practices are being followed across the city by various organisations and large apartment companies like SBI, Bangalore Club, Bangalore Golf Club, Eagleton Club, Wipro, L&T, Info-Tech Park and apartments built by Shobha Developers, Purvankara, Prestige, Mantri Group, Brigade group and DRDO Colony.


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