BENGALURU: It is a rampant habit among citizens to eat chocolates, bananas or ice-cream, and then let the empty wrapper or peel fall on the road with a subconscious feeling: “Why should I look for a dustbin? Someone else will clean it up for me.” It is this public lack of civic conscience which is contributing to the garbage mess prevailing in the city, say experts.
While blame is largely placed at BBMP’s doorstep and its lack of processes to ensure a clean Bengaluru, it is the public which is largely the reason for the filth piles that are becoming a permanent feature.
Despite the state government and BBMP chalking out rules, and the recent solid waste management policy, garbage segregation is still far from successful.
N S Ramakanth, co-founder of Solid Waste Management Round Table, Bengaluru (SWMRT), told The New Indian Express, “It’s been more than three years that segregation has become a rule, but most of the citizens don’t follow it. In SWMRT, 500 volunteers are spreading awareness about segregation, but citizens are unconcerned. They are even attacking marshals. Since citizens won’t change, it is important for BBMP to start strict enforcement.”
In various places that TNIE visited, where colour-coded bins are placed to inform people what kind of waste goes where, people still mindlessly throw garbage into whichever bin they feel is the right one. The result is that dry and wet waste get mixed. And this is double work for the garbage contractors’ staff, who make short work by just lifting the waste the way it is — mixed. This has been observed by the National Green Tribunal Committee too.
“When people need to segregate dry and wet waste, we only find one bin and this makes our task tough. When we leave garbage behind, people accuse us. We have to clean their waste. Despite making daily announcements on speakers attached to auto tippers, there is no improvement. While it remains one bin in most homes, some houses still dispose of their waste at street corners,” said Gouramma, a waste collector.
A senior BBMP official said: “It appears Bengalureans have not learnt their lessons and continue to throw a spanner in the garbage collection works.”
A member of HSR Layout Residents’ Welfare Association, said, “People just don’t want to follow instructions. There is no commitment to support, to sort out the garbage issue. In some wards, there is 85% segregation, where resident associations have taken the lead in their efforts to keep their areas clean and green. Be it garbage, potholes or street dog menace, segregation is done and two separate bins, marked wet and dry, are placed outside the gates. In all the other areas where there are no associations and no watch, segregation is just 10%.”
Upscale localities in Bengaluru like Malleswaram, Sadashivnagar, Jayanagar, BTM Layout, among others, are some of the cleaner localities in Bengaluru. But they are just one face of Bengaluru. Areas like City Market, Shivajinagar, Bilekalahalli, Rajarajeshwari Nagar, Attiguppe, Mysuru Road, Magadi Road, Kanakapura Road, Bannerghatta Road, Bellandur, Varthur, Whitefield, Sarjapura Road, to name a few, are the other side of the coin, where the attitude is: “Who cares? I am paying them for cleanliness and garbage collection.”