Lakeside composting

There are finally corporators who are walking the talk on managing waste. Smt Nandini Srinivasa and Sri ME Pillappa (BBMP Wards 9 and 10 respectively) are taking a personal interest in trying to alleviate the Mandur mess. On the Facebook page Vidyaranyapura-The Original, Smt Srinivasa’s post reads:

We all know that most of the waste collected in Bangalore is being dumped near Mandur and that is creating health and environment problems to Mandur residents and nearby villages. To avoid this we request you to attend an event “From Waste to Wealth” on 20th July 2014, Sunday at Narasipura Lake. We are thankful to Dr Meenakshi Bharath to visit our ward and demonstrate how to make compost from household waste and leaf litter. Let us all work together to give clean air to our children and good environment to Mandur residents.

Event : From Waste to Wealth – Mandur Nammannu Kshamisi (Mandur, forgive us)
Date : 20th July 2014
Time : 10:30 AM
Place : Narasipura Lake, Gate 2, Vidyaranyapura


If every large public open space (such as parks, gardens, lakes) took care of the waste it generated within its own premises, it would bring some relief to the Mandur garbage mess.

The waste in public open spaces, especially if vendors and snack stalls are allowed, would comprise:
1. garden waste (such as grass, plant trimmings, leaves, branches, weeds, flowers),
2. dry waste (such as bottles, plastic packets, wrappers, disposable cups),
3. wet waste (such as picnic leftovers, fruit peels), and
4. bathroom waste (such as diapers and sanitary pads from the toilets).   

If an effort is made to collect the waste in an easy-to-process format, half the work would be done. And even if we assume that those disposing of the waste would not do it in the ideal way we want, it is only through persistence that we will make any progress.

Step 1 – Discourage the use of “disposables” in the premises. Provide adequate segregation bins, with signage that guides disposal.

Waste disposal bins at Puttenahalli Lake – Dry waste, Wet waste, Leaves only, Any waste

Step 2 – Monitor the bins and clear them out regularly, at least once a day. 

Step 3 – The waste should be quickly sorted. Dry recyclables should be kept aside in a sheltered place to be sold/ given to recyclers. Bathroom waste and rejects (non-recyclable) should be the only waste that goes out.

Step 4 – Garden waste and wet waste, which would be the largest volume, should be composted within the premises. Passing this waste through a shredder would reduce volumes considerably, and speed up composting. The “leaves only” bins can serve as preliminary composters, and depending on the volumes, the contents can be transferred to a composting set-up within the premises.

Some dedicated man-power, adequately trained and briefed, that focuses a couple of hours a day is essential to make it work. A small sorting facility, a shredder and a suitable composting area will take us closer to achieving a successful zero-waste public open space.

There is a wide range of composting methods/ options that are suitable for public open spaces. (If you are interested to know more, just do a google search, or better still, attend the session at Narasipura Lake.) Whichever method we choose, what matters to Mandur, and finally to all of us in Bangalore is that compostable materials get treated close to where they are generated, and do not make unnecessary journeys to landfills.      

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About Arathi Manay Yajaman 215 Articles
Arathi is a market researcher who loves to run and write. She has been actively involved in issues that affect citizens, including apartment management, waste management and lakes. She used to live in Mumbai and is now based in Bengaluru, working as a Community Anchor with Citizen Matters.