Action plan for Solid waste management in Bangalore

Background

– According to our estimates (made through actual door-to-door surveys) there is no more than 3200 tonnes of waste collected in the city each day. Of this, about 1000 tonnes at the most is wet waste, and the remainder is dry. A small portion (5-10%) is electronic and bio waste.

– Current technologies permit most, if not all, of the wet waste to be converted into compost or energy. Composting can be done at different scales – in the home, in neighbourhoods, and in large zones.

– A very large chunk of the dry waste can be recycled, even profitably. The recycling stream can also support a lot of jobs.

– Some amount of residual mixed waste will remain, despite segregation (including electronic waste and bio-waste). We can attempt to further segregate that at secondary sorting stations, and send only the remainder to landfill. Less than 20% of the current landfill volumes need to be sent to landfill in the future.

– Technologies change, and solutions evolve. Therefore a continuous mechanism for maintaining a high knowledge base in BBMP is needed, along with periodic assessment of systems using good metrics.

– Legal requirements, including constitutional mandates, must be met.

Operation Plan

– In each built premises in the city (residential, commercial, industrial, etc,), as well as in all large public spaces (parks, playgrounds, lakes, bus-stands, train stations, airport, etc) there shall be collection of both dry and wet waste on a segregated basis, as well as electronic and bio waste, where needed. Where premises-specific collection cannot be set up (e.g. in slums), bulk receptacles for segregated waste may be set up. However, in all cases, irrespective of building-type, collection must be segregated.

– Any owner or resident of a premises may choose to recycle as much of the waste that they can do so themselves (through estabished recycle channels and procedures), and hand over the balance to BBMP.

– BBMP shall take all dry waste to a sorting station not more than 10 km away from the pickup point, for further extraction of recyclables. Such DWCs shall be established at least one in each Assembly constituency. BBMP shall also establish local sorting stations at the ward level, wherever the volumes of waste to be handled are sufficiently large.

– BBMP shall also establish, in cooperation with the KCDC, bulk composting sites for handling wet waste. The lands already with KCDC shall be commandeered for this right away, and additional lands as needed shall be identified by BBMP.

– BBMP shall not transport any waste other than hazardous or bio-waste outside its municipal boundary. For hazardous and biowastes, BBMP and KPCB shall submit proposals to the court.

Oversight and Regulation

– The everyday management of the SWM operations in BBMP shall be brought under a new SWM wing, staffed by those with the necessary environmental, engineering, public health and administrative competence.

– There shall be a regulatory and oversight board in BBMP for technical supervision of the SWM program, similar to the one now in place for road infrastructure works. The consent of this oversight board shall be mandatory for all SWM projects in BBMP.

– The technical committee shall identify and purchase the full range of handling equipment for the SWM processes. (INITIAL LIST OF EQUIPMENT TYPES TO BE LISTED). The equipment shall meet standards of efficiency as well as public health safety for those who use it.

– The boards of KPCB and KCDC must be repurposed to reflect the new need, and reconstituted accordingly. The court may suggest specific members to be appointed, under its supervision, to the boards of these entities.

– KPCB shall complete its site-assessment of all existing SWM sites, including landfills, and either accord them due certification for future operations, or order their closure. All such sites that require clean-up operations to ensure public safety shall also be identified, and the specific cleanup needed in each site shall be listed. The State government shall, at its cost, clean up all these sites.

– The technical committee shall evaluate all new technologies for use in the city’s SWM program. Also, the technical committee shall specify technical standards to be met for all tenders and contracts pertaining to SWM.

– In all wards, the BBMP shall form citizens’ representative groups, which shall have specific rights to oversee all aspects of SWM operations, and to suggest changes to the municipality from time to time.

– The BBMP technical committee for SWM shall regularly schedule meetings with citizens’ groups, to take their inputs as well in formulating technical standards and policies.

Finance

– The garbage cess collected from each built premises shall be used exclusively for SWM operations in the city.

– A tariff regime for the cess shall be established by BBMP. The municipality shall also establish procedures for periodic revision of the tariff.

Court monitoring

– BBMP and other agencies shall submit a weekly report on progress in implementing this plan, to the court, until the justice(s) are satisfied that routine operational stability has been established.

– The court may specify a date (three months) by which this status is to be achieved, and require BBMP and other agencies to submit a timetable for their work in this period.

Ashwin Mahesh
About Ashwin Mahesh 86 Articles

Ashwin Mahesh has been involved in public policy for Bengaluru through his work with the Karnataka government. The views expressed here are his own. He is a member of the Lok Satta party. He is also CEO of Mapunity Information Services, and a director at Oorvani Media, publisher of Citizen Matters and India Together. He is also a visiting faculty with the Centre for Public Policy at IIM Bangalore.

1 Comment

  1. Ashwin, what you say is true and very doable. One of the key issues I feel is the need to change mindsets in BBMP and their contractors. For example, BESCOM folks come around every one in a while, cut/trim trees that affect their overhead cables and leave the waste right there. Who is supposed to collect this? The BESCOM guys say it is not their job – they just dirty the street and walk away; the BBMP guys or their contractors also argue this is not their work. Bottom line I could (and I do) convert all our home’s wet wastes into compost ; I send to recycling all dry waster AFTER segregating it into paper, plastics and metal/bottles BUT I cannot do anything about the street waste because of the callous attitude of BBMP and their contractors – this arrogance on their part has to be first checked. We all pay taxes AND a garbage cess but do not see any concrete action. And then we talk about converting Bangalore into Singapore !!!!

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