Bad waste management is also a health hazard…
When I look at the garbage which is lying outside, I wonder why educated people don’t understand that this is unhealthy for them. If you see a garbage heap in front of your house, don’t you understand you will get rats, flies, mosquitoes and things that are going to affect you directly by spreading diseases like dengue and typhoid? Today the biggest scare in Bangalore is the garbage not being collected. How will we get Swachh Bharat if people don’t have a basic sense of cleanliness? We are talking about educated, urban people.
Cities can be kept clean if right efforts are taken. I was in Rajasthan recently to attend a global meet. The Chief Minister has taken great pains to keep the city clean. Mechanised sweepers are being used to clean the roads and footpaths of Jaipur. Even a minister from Singapore appreciated the cleanliness and discipline he saw in Jaipur.
So it is all possible
It is possible. The Chief Minister said, “I hope we can maintain it like this now.We spent a month scrubbing our city clean. Can we keep our city like this?” And I said I didn’t think so, as I was driving to the venue and there was this guy on the scooter spitting pan on the road despite the fact that the road was looking so clean. I fired him, but he didn’t care. What I am saying is that unless the attitude of the average citizen is changed, no transformation can take place. I told the Prime Minister when he was bringing out Swachh Bharat initiative that the first thing we had to do in the country was to start an anti-litter policy. Anybody caught littering by throwing stuff on the street must be fined. But for that the government has to make dustbins available at walkable distances. There is nothing that prevents every shop owner from keeping dustbins outside his shop. Sadly, we don’t have that concept. You see cleanliness is a state of mind, it’s a habit, if you don’t have that habit you have to inculcate that and it takes a long time. You have to have an anti-litter policy; you have to have dust-bins; you have to make mandatory that every shop should have dustbins outside, and nobody should be throwing litter onto the streets.
In Bangalore, as you said, the waste management is not going anywhere
It is because it is a mammoth task. We never bothered about it for the last 10 years. How can we fix a 10-year problem in one month?
We should not allow any organic waste to go outside the municipal ward, what goes outside the ward can only be bulk waste, e-waste, debris, inorganic waste and hazardous waste. Now if you can create dumping areas for each one of these, a lot of dry waste can be recycled. I helped the Karnataka government to prepare a debris disposal policy four years ago which has still not been rolled out. Why should debris be lying on the road or dumped on the side? There should be collection points for this and this should be recycled to make building materials. We need a good debris disposal policy and a dry waste management centre in the City. Today, we are failing because of lack of waste segregation. If you don’t have waste segregation you can’t do the dry waste disposal properly. This is applicable to electronic waste, furniture waste, hazardous and hospital waste too. A positive step in this direction was recently taken by the High Court, when a three-way waste segregation at source was made mandatory in Bengaluru with the 2Bin-1Bag model of segregating organic, recyclable and reject/sanitary waste.
However, we also need to build waste management capability in the BBMC. Currently, it has no bandwidth, no understanding, no competence to deal with the waste management process effectively.
And then you must also have the political will to ensure proper waste management.