After 17 years, Bengaluru’s streets will have a welcome new addition: Garbage bins

The decision was taken as the current door-to-door garbage collection model is not working out for the BBMP.
After 17 years, Bengaluru’s streets will have a welcome new addition: Garbage bins
After 17 years, Bengaluru’s streets will have a welcome new addition: Garbage bins
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The mounting garbage in Bengaluru has become the city’s biggest problem besides traffic, and the civic body has decided to re-install litter bins across the city.

The decision was taken as the current door-to-door garbage collection model is not working out for the BBMP in commercial and slum areas.

On Monday, Bengaluru Development Minister, KJ George and Bengaluru Mayor, G Padmavati inaugurated the installation of litter bins for dry and wet waste near National Market in the city.

According to the Mayor, each of these bins have a capacity of 200 litres and will be installed in commercial and slum areas across the city.

“As a part of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s Nagarothana Scheme, twin litter bins will be installed in 2,232 locations covering all BBMP zones. These bins will be installed within the next 15 days,” the Mayor said.

In addition to the installation of litter bins in public places, the Palike is also planning to take over the entire process of solid waste management and eliminate the role of private contractors.

This move comes 17 years after the garbage management was privatised.

“The civic body will take over the whole gamut of solid waste management in the city from sweeping, collection, transportation, and disposal of garbage. This overhaul of the existing system will take at least two to three months as the BBMP has to procure pick-up vehicles, which are currently being provided by private contractors,” Mayor Padmavati said.

Sarfaraz Khan, the Joint Commissioner of Solid Waste Management, BBMP, said that the contractors are currently providing 400 compactors and 8,000 autorickshaws for garbage collection and disposal and they also act as labour contractors for pourakarmikas.

“The BBMP owns 75 compactors as of now. We have issued tenders to buy 100 portable compactors with a capacity of 12 tonne each. The BBMP is also buying 600 autos to drop waste at dry waste collection centres,” Khan said.

In the year 2000, Bangalore adopted bin-free policy as a part of the Swaccha Bangalore initiative introduced by the then Chief Minister SM Krishna. The initiative was taken up with the help of BATF (Bangalore Agenda Task Force), which was formed by the Karnataka government in 1999.

Before the formation of BATF, large cement bins were a common site in Bengaluru. These were located at the end of city streets including residential areas and were the designated garbage dumping spots for citizens.

In 2000, these cement bins were removed and smaller bins were installed in commercial areas to collect street litter.

“The problem with these bins was that the number of small litter bins did not increase as the city grew, and gradually these bins disappeared. The BBMP did not take up the initiative to install more bins. People still continue to dump garbage at the end of their respective roads. It’s high time these bins were installed. Since 2011, the Palike has been talking of installing litter bins and finally, they have done it,” said Kshitij Urs, who heads ActionAid.

According to a senior BBMP official, it is high time that the civic agency took hold of the garbage problem, which has blown out of proportion.

“Old habits die hard. People will still throw garbage on the roadside. However, gradually, with more awareness, people are taking to segregating their own waste but the city still needs a proper implementation system to ensure that citizens don’t throw garbage on the roads,” the official added.

Ironically, in 2007, the BBMP had come up with a proposal to deploy ‘litter cops’ in every area, whose duty would be to watch for offenders and fine those littering roads.

This proposal has been on the backburner for 10 years now. Tired of the BBMP’s apathy, the Sainik Welfare and Resettlement Board had also submitted a proposal to the BBMP on November 2016, and had offered to patrol the streets and nab those throwing garbage. This proposal has been pending approval too.

According to Sridhar Pabbisetty, CEO of Namma Bengaluru Foundation, the new scheme of setting up litter bins across the city is "no way close to establishing a solid plan for solid waste management in the city."

"Setting up litter bins alone will not resolve the issue of garbage management in Bengaluru. The BBMP has to come up with a solid plan at ward and zonal levels in consultation with the active citizenry. Unless the BBMP lists out its goals for managing the garbage along with the method of implementation, the time period in which it will carry out these goals and the consequences of not adhering to the regulations, no amount of ad-hoc schemes will help in managing the garbage," he added.

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