Service roads BBMP’s new garbage dumps?

Residents, commercial establishments and even garbage contractors have found new places to dump garbage, which are the service roads along Outer Ring Roads across Bengaluru. Residents living nearby complain of stench, mosquito and dog menace. But the BBMP has not responded to their complaints.

The city is on the verge of turning into one big dump yard with garbage being strewn everywhere. Isolated places like the service roads of Outer Ring Roads (ORRs) and the highways are the new favourite spots for people and business establishments to dump garbage.

Residents living near these dumps complain that the door-to-door garbage collection drive has failed and waste is now being thrown on roads across the city. Those who dump garbage do it at night and use these stretches as there is lesser movement of pedestrians and public.

Not just the residents and business establishments, even garbage collectors dump waste at these spots, instead of transporting it to BBMP-designated dump yards on the outskirts, to save time, money and fuel.

Ashok Rai, a resident of Kasturinagar, said, “The ORR service road near Ramamurthy Nagar is one long dumping yard. People throw garbage here without thinking twice. There are huge piles on both sides of the roads. On one side is the railway track and the entire stretch is filled with garbage and construction debris. Even on the other side, where the residential Kasturi Nagar is , there are big piles of garbage. We have been constantly complaining to the BBMP, but there has been no solution. Palike workers come once in two weeks and clean it up. But the next day, it is back to square one.”

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He said, “The stench is unbearable and towards evening, mosquitoes swarm the entire area. It is time the government and civic agencies woke up to the problem and took action against those dumping garbage. The BBMP should first set its issues right, like paying the pourakarmikas and bringing in a new system to collect garbage from residential and commercial areas. Till an effective system is in place, this will continue.”

Rai and his neighbours have called up the BBMP call centre a number of times, left messages on the BBMP app and even posted pictures on Twitter, but to no avail.

Thimappa Subedhar, a resident of Banasawadi, who uses the service road to reach his office in Whitefield, said, “Just six years ago, we used to go for morning walks and jogs on the service roads. But now everywhere in the city, the service roads are being used to dump garbage. It is difficult to even ride our two-wheelers on these stretches as the garbage has spilled on to the roads, and the stench is unbearable.” Not just Kasturinagar, even Nayandahalli, Nagarabhavi, Hebbal Ring Road and surrounding areas face the same problem.

He said, “Recently, we saw a pourakarmika unloading garbage from a truck on the service road near Kasturi Nagar. When we confronted him, he said the local contractor asked him to dump garbage there and he was only following the orders. The contractor claimed that he was not getting money from the BBMP and could not afford to waste time and money transporting garbage to the outskirts. He said that as there was no traffic on the service road, it was an ideal spot to dump garbage.” 

Palike should stop outsourcing garbage collection
“The Palike should manage pourakarmikas and the garbage collection system, instead of outsourcing it, as this is the main reason behind the garbage menace. The present system has also given rise to large-scale corruption. Once the BBMP takes direct control of garbage handling and pourakarmikas, the garbage disposal system will fall into place,” said a senior officer from the Solid Waste Management Department in the BBMP.

He said, “We want the daily, door-to-door garbage collection to become more effective and we want the process to be monitored by zonal officials. Now, many residents complain that the door-to-door collection is irregular. Palike officials should keep track of bulk waste generators, as they tend to dump garbage in vacant spots to avoid paying a fee to BBMP-assigned bulk garbage collectors.”

Another official said that garbage collection outsourcing should stop or handed over to efficient private companies, as garbage contractors are fleecing the Palike now. “There should be a separate government body to handle the garbage generated in the city. The decision to convert deserted quarries into dumping pits is still on hold, while many other viable options too have been delayed for reasons unknown. With issues concerning garbage, the government should take immediate decisions to stop the menace from growing,” the officer said.

A corporator, who did not wish to be named, said, “When residents complained that pourakarmikas were not collecting garbage regularly, we conducted a check and found out that some contractors had assigned one pourakaramika to collect garbage from 700 houses a day, which is humanly impossible. The entire garbage collection system should be made transparent for it to work.”

Self-help groups, resident welfare associations and civic agencies should be actively involved in finding solutions to garbage-related problems.

The city generates 5,000 tonnes of solid waste every day from houses, hotels, hospitals, industries and companies. The pile is increasing as the city’s population is growing at a rapid pace, and more households and business establishments are being added.

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