Residents of Bengaluru’s Electronic City protest as waste plant allegedly releases leachate

BBMP officials, however, denied that it was leachate that was released.
Residents of Bengaluru’s Electronic City protest as waste plant allegedly releases leachate

Even as Bengaluru is all set to go into a complete lockdown starting Tuesday night to cope with the continued spike in COVID-19 cases, a section of residents in Electronic City started a protest on Saturday.

The residents sat on the roads leading up to the solid waste management plant in Electronic City Phase-II from the Hosur Road side to stop trucks carrying garbage from the city from entering the plant. However, local police who were alerted swung into action and removed the protesters.

The residents were protesting because the plant allegedly started releasing leachate (toxic liquid generated in mixed waste containers) on Friday evening. As a result, the unpleasant smell from the plant, which is already unpopular in the neighbourhood due to the stench it emanates, increased multifold, the residents alleged.

Pranay Dubey, a resident and activist who is part of the Electronic City Rising group, said, “The situation has gone from bad to worse. It was literally awful on Friday night. We citizens need a resolution from this menace created by the BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike). We’re facing a double whammy of poisonous stink from the plant and now BBMP has started releasing untreated leachate from the plant which will spoil underground water and other water bodies in the vicinity of the plant.”

“The situation is pathetic now because due to COVID-19 restrictions, residents have to remain at home but the BBMP has made this place uninhabitable,” he added.

Tweets about the same by the residents tagging the BBMP Commissioner for Special Waste Management Commissioner did not elicit any response from the authorities.

However, Vishwanath, Chief Engineer, Solid Waste Management, BBMP denied it was leachate that was released. “I spoke to the plant manager and some modifications that have been proposed will soon be implemented in the plant and the existing problems will be sorted. Rather than leachate, it was rainwater that had overflowed into the plant from a nearby lake bund. That water got mixed with some colour meant for painting the garbage trucks, which made the water look like leachate,” he told TNM.

This is not the first time that the residents have raised red flags – since late 2018, they have complained that the plant in its present form was the cause of many of their ailments.

While the plant was set up in 2015 and stopped operations shortly after its commissioning, it started operating in 2018 which is when local residents started complaining about its ill-effects.

While the plant is meant to compost organic waste, BBMP’s alleged mismanagement meant that it became a warehouse for mixed waste, and till date despite many complaints waste is burnt.

Acknowledging the sustained protests by the residents nearby, Deputy Chief Minister Dr Ashwathnarayan CN had in October 2019 written to the BBMP to consider shifting the waste plant to a less inhabited area.

Incidentally, even the chairperson of the state level committee of the National Green Tribunal, Justice Subhash B Adi, had observed that mixed waste of the plant is burnt.

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