Years ago, Lakshmeesha's family bought an independent house opposite Karumariyamma Temple in Dasarahalli. Christened Vani Nilaya, they made it a perfect home, over time. Here, Lakki, as he is known to friends and relatives, grew up, played many a prank with his neighbourhood friends, went on to marry and have a child.
But what seemed to be his abode for lifetime, wasn't meant to be. Only last week, his family, along his parents moved out of the home they built over 27 years, to an apartment two and a half kilometres away.
The undoing in this city-based techie's story came from piling garbage!
About three years ago Lakki's family noticed that the vacant plot adjacent to their home was beginning to attract garbage. "Food carts would dump waste here, vegetable vendors would throw rotting produce and some neighbourhood homes on the next lane or one away would throw their packets of waste here," says Lakki.
As the family began to notice the dump grow, so did its concerns. "Eventually, we were forced to keep our windows closed all the time. Using mosquito repellents became a must. Any time we didn't, our son (who is only four now) would wake up with a fever. We wouldn't let him out for the fear he would pick an infection," he says.
The family would lay watches to catch people who were throwing garbage at the spot. This led to regular bickering with people who desisted from changing from what had seemed to become a habit. The bitterness affected neighbourly relations. "There was always an excuse. Some would say they missed the morning rounds made by the pourakarmikas because they were asleep, for others the spot was at convenient distance from their home. There would be housewives who on their way to collect their children back from school would throw garbage here. How many could we request, how many could we counsel? There were times we lost our patience with it all. Once we laid a watch till 1 am, but by morning time the garbage was back," says Lakki, frustration building in his voice.
A year ago he lodged a formal complaint with the BBMP ward office. Lakki's voice against indiscreet garbage dumping got louder and drew a lot of notice. "The BBMP increased the number of times it would clear the spot in a week. Warning boards were put up, fines were declared. And yet there would be those who claimed they had thrown garbage at the spot because they didn't know of the warning because they can't read," says Lakki.
Gradually, it dawned on the family that it was fighting a losing battle. "We moved out to an apartment because we wanted to improve the quality of our life. Our house is up for rent though I understand that prospective tenants too will be looking for better living when they choose to stay there," says Lakki who feels aggressive awareness campaigns on garbage disposal are the need of the hour and the only solution.
Executive engineer, J Siddegowda, in-charge of soild waste management in BBMP for Dasarahalli Zone says he's fed up with the situation too.
"All our pleas with residents of the area against random dumping of garbage have fallen on deaf ears. It's not possible to lay guard at such spots all the time. Pourakarmikas do their job, but citizens co-operation is necessary. Campaigns can help only when people are willing to change," he says.
Pushed to the edge
Three years ago Lakshmeesha's family begin to notice dumping of garbage on the plot adjacent to their own home in Dasarahalli.
A year ago, he raises a complaint with the ward office.
This week, his family, tormented by the garbage mess, moves out to an apartment.