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See What your Waste has Done to Mandur Village

It is our garbage, their lives. Years ago, Mandur allowed Bengaluru’s waste to be dumped in its backyard. However, even a year after the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) stopped sending waste to the landfill site, the villagers continue to suffer

Published: 02nd December 2015 05:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd December 2015 05:11 AM   |  A+A-

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BENGALURU: It is impossible to ignore the stench as you enter Mandur. That is not all. Groundwater is contaminated, crop yield has reduced drastically and people, including children, suffer from skin diseases and other ailments due to the mountain of unprocessed waste piled up at the landfill.

The BBMP has stopped dumping garbage but has not found a way out of the mess.

Ask 65 -year-old Jayaseelan. He says he has been suffering from skin disease for two years now, triggered while working near the landfill area. Several flies and mosquitoes breeding on the landfill bit his legs.

Unable to afford professional treatment, he depended on local medications which helped  little. “This skin problem has taken away our livelihood,” he said.

For seven years, Jayaseelan worked at a private canteen and was the sole breadwinner of his five-member family. “We managed to marry our three daughters; our son is still studying in Bengaluru. With skin condition like this, my husband won’t get a job. So we started a small canteen here and are surviving,” said Parvathamma, Jayaseelan’s wife.

Living in a rented house, the couple work hard and struggle to make ends meet. “I still haven’t got any compensation nor medical aid. I was asked to get a health check-up done at Bowring Hospital. I don’t know if I can afford the treatment,” Jayaseelan said.

Anil Kumar, a farmer, too has a tale of woe. He grows grapes, mangoes, potatoes and other crops on his 20 acres. He was baffled when he found the grapes filled with webs and turned sticky. “I have never seen this happen. I tried to spray different kinds of pesticides, but it was of no use.”

On further observation, Anil found several flies feeding on grapes. “All these flies have made the landfill their breeding ground and spread across the area. The farmers have no clue on how to tackle this situation. We haven’t got any support from the horticulture department or the BBMP,” he said.

There are several farmers like Anil whose crop yield has reduced since the dumping of garbage in the landfill. They have doubled the dosage of normal pesticide and attempted to improve their yield. But it has not helped.

Even a year after the dumping at Mandur has stopped, 68-year-old Krishnappa is yet to recover from pneumonia.

Krishnappa works on his 2-acre mango plantation. When he fell ill, he was admitted to MS Ramaiah Hospital. He spent 16 days in the ICU and one month in the hospital. “It all started with the filthy air from the landfill and contaminated water ,” he said.

When the hospital bills ran close to Rs2 lakh, the family approached the BBMP for compensation. Krishnappa’s son Chethan Kumar knocked at the doors of several ministers, BBMP officials and government officials.

“BBMP finally decided to pay Rs 50,000 as compensation. But the cheque bounced twice before we were finally able to encash it and pay the bills,” he said.

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