The garbage conundrum
Garbage segregation has been the talk of the town for a while now, and while some Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials claim that they will go slow on cracking down on the nonchalant, some others claim that the process is well on its way to implementation.
"We are already doing whatever we should. We are creating awareness by distributing pamphlets. I am sure attitudes change gradually. We have to give people time to realise the importance of these measures. Anyone who wishes to lodge a complaint regarding garbage segregation or dumping, can contact the assistant executive engineer of their ward," says R Venkatesh, chief engineer, solid waste management
Another BBMP official, however, says, "It will take time to inculcate civic sense among citizens." True enough, some Bangaloreans City Express spoke to were not aware of the fine levied on not abiding to garbage segregation.
"If they (BBMP) are fining people, then why haven't I paid a penny yet, nor anyone else I know," questions Abhilash Ramachandra, an architectural designer at Janaagraha.
This is countered by BBPM authorities with a stock reply, "The purpose of this move is not to collect money but to create awareness."
Further, there is a common complaint that the purpose of segregating garbage - of recycling much of the dry waste and composting wet, biodegradable waste - is not served.
"I don't see a motivation to be segregating waste everyday when the pourakarmikas accept my neighbour's mixed waste," says Rohit Deshpande, a resident of Rajarajeshwari Nagar, also adding that he has often seen conservancy workers mixing wet and dry wastes.
On penalising littering, spitting and urinating in public places according to Karnataka Municipal Corporations (Amendment) Bill, 2013, the BBMP official says, "We cannot blame the public for everything. We also have to do our part. If we tell an auto driver not to spit or urinate on the road, it might lead to a brawl."
He adds that BBMP is also discussing construction of more toilets. "We are planning to identify places, but there are many places like Chikpet and Majestic, where toilets are much needed and there's no place to construct them. Right now, there are only about 500 to 600 toilets in the city, 60 to 70 per cent of which are functional," he says. According to him, BBMP is considering building about 1,000 more toilets, in batches of 50 or 60.
As for implementing the bill, the official adds that they have designated one health officer per ward to watch over and penalise miscreants though many feel a larger deployment is needed. Venkatesh says, "Let the bigger outer wards ask for more resources if they want. One person per ward is more than sufficient."