While the garbage issue keeps popping itself every now and then, the idea of involving people has taken a beating, with the segregation plans being too mammoth a task for the BBMP to handle. And in return of making the city garbage-free, it can definitely be said that Bangalore is a dustbin-free city.
"Bangalore has been a dustbin-free city since 2000. We have entrusted this responsibility to the people of Bangalore, trusting them to not dump garbage on the roads, and use dustbins at homes, shops or malls. We don't have the manpower that is required to take care of emptying these dustbins on a daily basis, which in turn will lead to stagnant garbage and unnecessary spills, in busy city areas," says a BBMP official.
Although, several private companies have come forward to set up these dustbins, BBMP has been slow on taking these plans forward.
Market areas, shopping streets, public areas, roads, etc. are devoid of dustbins as part of BBMP's efforts to keep the city dustbin-free. These areas are filled with eateries and shops and a lot of people choose to eat while they shop, throwing these wrappers, plastic bags, or garbage on the roadsides or roads, for lack of a dustbin.
"Bangalore is the first city in India to be completely dustbin-free. When the city was just hundred wards, this plan was a huge success. A dustbin-free city leads to a garbage-free city, if practised correctly. I feel that there are more disadvantages to having garbage bins in this city as compared to the advantages," says R Venkatesh, chief engineer, BBMP. The excuses don't stop there. "The pourakarmikas and garbage contractors will only take out garbage from dustbins if they're full. If they see that the dustbins are half empty, they will wait for a couple of days more before they unload the garbage, which will lead to overflow. It's better not to have these dustbins then. If we have shop vendors and malls and other stores making sure that they have dustbins within their premises, then it will ensure that garbage is not strewn about on the roads," he says.
While the initiative was taken up with a view to make Bangalore garbage-free eventually by collecting waste without letting it get accumulated, this has only worsened the situation. Now with the garbage segregation bill in place, it needs to be seen if the garbage situation can be brought under control,within the next six months, as promised by the chief minister.
"There should be dustbins in private places like malls. And street vendors (coffee/tea stalls) should definitely have them and take responsibility for their usage and waste disposal. But dustbins on public roads may be too much to manage for the Palike. Sadly, we're not there yet as a country. However, that should not be an excuse for excusing litter," says Mahesh Shantaram, a noted Bangalore based photographer.
"I think there is a need to collect garbage efficiently. And street vendors, eateries, etc. are not the only garbage creators. So I think the BBMP should come up with a good alternative when saying that they are going to remove an existing mechanism. People throw the garbage everywhere - in the sewage, on the side of the road, in the gutters, outside others houses. I think the BBMP has some utopian Singapore idea in mind without putting the Singapore infrastructure in place," says Vikram Vincent, a student.