The flower exhibition which sees a record footfall of lakhs of visitors on every Republic Day, this time achieved almost zero littering.

How a sustained 3-year campaign has helped reduce waste at Bengalurus Lalbagh
news Environment Monday, January 28, 2019 - 07:37

A sustained exercise for the last three years in reducing waste at Bengaluru’s Lalbagh has proved to be a success. The flower exhibition which sees a record footfall of lakhs of visitors on every Republic Day, this time achieved almost zero littering.

This was the result of a conscious and concerted effort from Horticulture Department, BBMP, Sahas— the waste management vendor and volunteers from Beautiful Bengaluru. Beautiful Bengaluru is a volunteer-driven organisation aimed at reducing waste reaching landfills in Bengaluru, which has been facing issues with waste management in the city.

According to volunteers on the ground, the primary sources of waste are disposable water bottles, disposable plates for street food and plastic carry bags.

Odette Katrak, co-founder of Beautiful Bengaluru, told TNM, “Each year, there have been significant improvements. We wanted to create public awareness on littering. Most people just eat and throw things thinking somebody else will take care of their waste. We have been working to make sure that the waste is trapped at source in a bin. We have been making a strong appeal to every visitor to do their bit to reduce litter and waste on premises by using dustbins and carrying their own bags and water.”

She said that three simple actions can make a huge difference to waste on the premises. “Separate bins for dry and wet waste, so there is no litter or mixed waste. This time, we are happy to see that measures we had suggested are put in place, including colour coding of bins, demarcated food zones and banning of single-use plastic bottles on the premises.”

Odette credited the Horticulture Department of arranging multiple 20 litre water cans and reusable cups in multiple locations across the nature park eliminating the need for disposable water bottles. Guards at the gate also ensured that no single-use plastic was allowed inside the premises. Continued presence of BBMP Enforcement Team and public announcements by the traffic and civil police also helped in swift implementation.

The sustained campaign also resulted in the use of palm leaves and other eco-friendly alternatives instead of thermocol plates, with a store also providing reusable cloth, jute bags and newspapers.

Ramakanth, who heads the Solid Waste Management Round Table-- which works closely with the BBMP, also arranged for steel plates for the large number of police personnel present during the festival.

Speaking on this, Chandrasekhar, Deputy Director of Horticulture at Lalbagh said, “From the last four months, we have enforced a complete ban on plastic and we continued the same during the festival. We took deposits from all the vendors and made them agree that if they use any banned items, we will deduct some amount.”

He added, “There were systems to carry out segregation of up to 14 types. We also had systems to compost different types of organic waste. So these small steps have ensured a big change even in the last hour of the flower show.”

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