BBMP to open crematorium next to Mavallipura landfill, residents protest

Residents of Mavallipura village allege that the BBMP has no proper plan on how to dispose of the PPE kits, medical waste as well as ash from the cremations.
Protest at Mavallipura against crematorium next to landfill
Protest at Mavallipura against crematorium next to landfill
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“For years we have been fighting against poisoning of our water and soil because of the landfill and now BBMP wants to do unscientific burning of those who died from COVID-19 at Mavallipura. How will the residents of the neighbouring 12 villages live?” asks Siddanna, one of the protestors who is opposing the BBMP proposal to create an open crematorium next to the Mavallipura landfill, 27 kilometres from Bengaluru.

On April 28, revenue and police officials visited the site and started work to create a 2.5-acre platform for the crematorium. Even as the work for the same is underway, residents from villages next to the landfill are protesting. Srinivas Mavallipura has submitted a petition to the BBMP on Thursday but has received no response yet.

“The BBMP plans to use firewood for cremation and the entire process is unscientific. They have no answers to our questions about how they plan to dispose of the PPE kits, medical waste as well as ash from the cremations. They have already created a pathway and have started dumping wood,” Srinivas tells TNM. He says that the residents will continue to protest at the site till BBMP withdraws the plan.

Environment Support Group (ESG) which works on a host of environmental and social issues has also strongly objected to the BBMP proposal and submitted a petition. “The thought of cremating the dead in a landfill is in itself shocking, to say the least. And I hope this effort will be suspended without any further progress,” reads the ESG petition.

The petition adds that the Karnataka High Court had, in 2012, directed the BBMP to “bio mine and decontaminate the toxic mess that has accumulated in Mavallipura due to illegal dumping of city’s waste over the past two decades.”

ESG contends that due to decades of dumping of Bengaluru’s waste at Mavallipura, at least 45 people have died due to cancers, kidney failures, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases among the 100 families who live there. “A landfill is no place to cremate or bury our dead. The idea must be dropped forthwith. A more suitable place must be found to treat the crematoria crises,” adds the petition.

Apart from the distress and health complications that a crematorium there will bring upon the residents of the villages, several have also been objecting to the very idea of cremating next to a landfill. Sujatha, a volunteer who has been helping families of deceased through the process of obtaining the mortal remains and cremation says that the families are already put through a harrowing process as they, most often do not get to even bid goodbye to their loved ones and after that, due to the infection, are deprived of a giving the dead a proper funeral. Cremating next to a garbage landfill is just further denying them of their dignity, she adds.

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