Dear KJ George, why go to Europe for garbage woes?
Dear KJ George, why go to Europe for garbage woes?

Dear KJ George, why go to Europe for garbage woes?

Solutions maybe closer at hand

Newly appointed minister for Bengaluru development KJ George is planning to go to the Netherlands and Sweden to study solid waste management methods in these two countries.

That sounds like a great idea. The Netherlands after all, has one of the highest rates of recycled household waste in Europe, at 51 percent. And there have been more breakthroughs in the last decade. As with every other move in the past, we shall believe, that some good might come out of it.


Delegations of ministers have gone on one foreign visit after another and even to neighbouring cities to see how garbage is disposed of there. For all the learning that has happened on these trips, Bengaluru’s garbage is more useful than the money spent on those trips. Waste at least, has the potential to generate compost and also be recycled and re-used.

Here’s some time-tested new age advice for the minister who’s looking to understand the Dutch model of solid waste management: Google it.

There are at least three. Here’s a research paper explaining how The Netherlands goes about dealing with solid waste management, why it has taken the steps it has (one significant and very responsible position their government has taken is to ensure that waste is not to be exported, and landfills are to be avoided), and what problems it has faced.

Cost of accessing article? None.

If the Karnataka government wants to understand the legal framework that enables this system and thereby its success, there is this document from the Research Office of the Legislative Council Secretariat of the Government of Hong Kong, which is partnering with the Dutch government on waste disposal. It also provides more information on how the Dutch got it right. 

Cost of access: None.

There have been newer developments in waste management in the Netherlands. We do not have access to this document, but the government might.

Sage Journals are one of the many journals that the UGC’s Digital Library Consortium makes available to students enrolled in government universities, free of cost through the Inflibnet, and to research candidates, for a minimal fee.

Knowledge and learning should not be theoretical and bookish. But perhaps, an Indian experiment in solid waste management quite close to Bengaluru might be more suited, as a lesson in how to achieve total sanitation.

Anneshwara Gram Panchayat in Benglauru Rural district administers 10 villages whose combined population is 8,588 people. Not only is each house covered by underground drainage, but all the waste collected is segregated at source and is then sent to solid waste management plants or utilized to make compost. The panchayat now generates revenue from compost that it sells. The panchayat set out on this road around four years ago.

Asked how they achieved this, Panchayat Development Officer Kumar (who has since been transferred) told The News Minute that the panchayat used all the funds available from central and state schemes to create the entire infrastructure, but there was a more difficult problem at hand.

“This was started before I got here, but I have been told that it was difficult to get people to agree to do this (segregate at source). They had to be convinced that paying a small monthly fee for garbage collection was a good thing.”

In short, it was an attitude problem that they had to deal with first.

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