Discarded plastic cups, chips covers, cigarette packets and various kinds of trash are a common sight on the city roads. Welcome to Namma city, Bangalore. Yes, this is your city, the Silicon Valley of India. Littering in every nook and cranny of the city has become the way of life and in fact, seems to be the lifestyle of many Bangaloreans. Well, most citizens feel ‘keep your own house clean’ and adopt the prevailing attitude of ‘I am not bothered’ if the surroundings are dirty and unkempt. But this is really something to worry about on the part of both citizens and authorities. City Express takes a look at the probable solutions to this ever increasing problem.
Speaking to City Express, Ashwin Mahesh, a well known urban planner said, “ We have observed that the usual practice is if a road is clean, for instance Vittal Mallya Road, nobody wants to disturb the cleanliness of the road as he will be the accused in this matter. However, still there are a few who do not mind littering roads that are clean. I feel we need a good number of dust bins in the city. Although many private organisation have taken the initiative and have made efforts to install dust bins in quite a number of places but this is not enough. We need around one hundred thousand dust bins in the city. And, this has to be followed by an effective system of collection as well.
Last but not the least, there is a need to involve the citizens in maintaining cleanliness of their surroundings. People should be empowered and given a support system by the authority so that they also feel part of the system and will not blame the BBMP for every little thing. The onus should be on both the citizens and the BBMP. In fact, the citizens should take the lead.”
Commenting on the system of fines prevailing in Europe and America, he says, “It might be necessary but not sufficient. The quality of the environment will be determined by the system of cleanliness that we put.”
On the other hand, S Ejaz Ahmed Sait, Chairman, Civic Affairs, FKCCI feels that use of modern technology can bring down the rampant littering. “Since we are living in a time where there is a huge technology boom, we should make full use of it. Why not install cameras and whenever people throw garbage out of their posh cars, we can capture it and may be put it on social media.It will work because it will be a huge public embarrassment. The traffic department has made good use of the cameras as the traffic violations have come down. We can have a similar kind of effect," he said.
However, the involvement of citizens is a necessary step to bring down the menace of littering on roads.
He said, “BBMP has this erratic timing to visit a particular place and most of the time they are not available. It would be sensible if the BBMP and residents associations elect a ward representative to look after such issues. The phone numbers of the elected representatives, corporators, helpline numbers should be put up on big hoarding so that people can call and inform whenever needed. Last but not the least, there should be accountability and transparency among the concerned authorities.”
The issue of littering has been condemned by many citizens and testimony to the fact is the various postings on social media networks.
We hope at least now people will think before littering the roads especially after festivals or otherwise and make a conscious effort to keep their city clean. If one out of a hundred people would spend just a few minutes a week doing their bit to tackle the litter problem, there would be no litter problem. It seems more people would rather complain about the problem rather than work at being part of the solution.