The Trail of Trash….

Out of sight, out of mind…that’s what usually happens to the garbage that we throw out of our homes.

 

I’ve been trying all yesterday, and up to now, to load some photos to Photobucket, so I can write about the Trash Trail I went on yesterday…but I think the internet connection is terrible, so I’ll write about it and you can see the photos (with the narrative) at my Facebook account,

here

I’m sorry, but you need a Facebook account to be able to see the photos.

I’m adding the few photos I was able to post…starting with this one…illustrative of the dog’s life they lead in the garbage business.

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I’d heard about

Daily Dump

a while ago, and have been taking my organic waste to a neighbour who uses their compost "vessel", since our apartment building does not segregate waste. Last month, I wanted to go on their

Trash Trail

but managed to make it only this month. There’s one happening tomorrow (11th Nov 2011), too.

I knew about the problem we have about accumulating garbage in Bangalore…but nothing short of this trail would have opened my eyes to even the basics of the situation.

Poonam, Aparna and Kamal took us to the following places:

1. A place where garbage is dumped (which is not an official dumping place), and also picked up by smallish vans called tipper autos, in a residential neighbourhood. The tipper autos also go and feed a compactor, which compacts the garbage and makes the trip to the landfill to dump it there.

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2. The premises of a "semi-wholesaler" who operates in the unorganized sector, who segregates usable items from trash, bags it, and packs it to be sent to the recycling units.

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3. One of the garbage landfills of Bangalore, this one in Bodhigere, where our senses were truly assaulted: our sight by the mountains of trash; our noses by the toxic stench, and our feelings by the fact that it was we.as citizens of Bangalore, who were responsible for this.

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Photobucket

 

4. One of the areas where migrant communities live in shacks, and make a living, sorting out usables from trash. They live in shanties on the site, and the land is owned by a contractor, who pays them daily wages.We saw that the children of the community did not go to school, but worked through the day, sorting out the garbage.

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5. The City (Krishna Rajendra) Market area, where a wide variety of waste and scrap materials are sorted out and loaded on to trucks to be transported.’

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6. Recycling units in Nandyanahalli , where plastic is melted, extruded, pelletized, and recycled.

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The whole tour was meticulously managed; we started on time, an excellent home-made breakfast was served in the van. The group size is always 9. We were given lunch in a restaurant just off the B G S flyover on the Mysore Road. While we were being shown the realities of the rag-picking, garbage, and plastic trade in our city, we also watched various short movies while we were en route from one destination to another. We had some sharing of our thoughts and ideas. We even watched one movie which made the point that the earth would set itself right, and humanity should not think it can cure or save the Earth. We wrote our feedback on fairly exhaustive forms and returned them. We came home, quite thoughtful about what we had seen, and the enormity of the garbage problem that faces a city which has no planning for waste disposal, and is, at present, only dumping in landfills.

The model of "Pick up, take far away, and dump" no longer works, as the city is expanding at an enormous rate; and the inclusion of vast quantities of plastic in our waste has compounded the problem exponentially. We saw how various companies, malls and other commercial establishments hired contractors to dump unsegregated garbage wherever possible. We saw how people dump their garbage, too, and are happy when it is out of sight, never counting the ultimate cost of that apathy.

Every Bangalore resident should visit the website of The Daily Dump…however, unless someone goes on the trail and sees the awful reality, they may not get sensitized to just what all of us, collectively, are doing to poison our environment. Well, I’m glad I do my bit, but I am afraid the efforts so far are woefully inadequate. However, people like Poonam are in the fray, and not about to give up.

Perhaps, one day, we will develop enough civic sense to stop the awful practices we are indulging in…and learn to manage our waste better. Right now….the only simile I can give is…a housewife taking her garbage each day to the far corner of her home, and dumping it there, thinking that it’s out of sight, and the rest of her home is clean.

 

Deepa Mohan
About Deepa Mohan 715 Articles

Deepa Mohan is a freelance writer and avid naturalist.