People living in Whitefield’s Thubarahalli report that waste is regularly burnt right on the Varthur Lake bed itself.

Residents suffer as garbage burning chokes clean air supply in Bengalurus Whitefield
news Civic Issues Monday, October 15, 2018 - 19:47

In yet another proof of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’s poor waste management system, residents have reported that regular burning of waste takes place in Thubarahalli on the Varthur Lake bed itself. On Friday, authorities managed to stop a similar incident in the vicinity.

A video posted by a resident on Whitefield Rising, a citizen activist Facebook group, shows more than one column of dark smoke coming out of the area. Some residents also complained that other than regular waste, even plastic waste is also burnt, often making residents living nearby breathe toxic air.  It has been widely reported although burning of garbage is outlawed by the BBMP, the practice continues unchecked in the city and often it is the BBMP-appointed contractors who burn garbage.

A resident of Doddanekundi ward, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “The burning is very regular, happens almost every day and multiple times of the day. Near the Sai Baba Temple in Thubarahalli, there is an informal waste dumping area and a low-income settlement. The waste ranges of all kinds - from medical waste to thermocol to plastic.”

“We had gone there to check with BBMP officials and the inhabitants there were told not to burn garbage but they never stopped,” he said.

Maniyan KG, who resides in Keerthi Gardenia Apartments in the same area, said, “These people living in the slums had started burning garbage and plastic around October 7. BBMP officials of two wards, Doddanekundi and Munnekolala, had gone to the spot and that has ensured that the area west of Keerthi Gardenia is not used for garbage burning. But the officials are trying to stop the garbage segregation process within a residential area to stop the menace.”According to independent estimates, garbage burning is prevalent in more than 40 out of the 198 wards in the city. Frustrated by the inaction by the BBMP, a  Public Interest Litigation (PIL) is being filed at the Karnataka High Court over the issue by Jhatkaa, a campaigning organisation.

Burning of garbage is also classified as the third biggest contributor to greenhouse emissions in the country.

All forms of waste burning pollute the environments but burning plastic is even more dangerous as it releases dioxins, a group of highly toxic chemicals which are carcinogenic and a hormone disruptor. According to studies, dioxins settle on crops and in our waterways where they eventually wind up in our food, accumulate in our bodies and are passed on to children as mothers give it directly to their babies via the placenta.

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