Starting October 1,Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike hopes,Bangalore residents will start segregating waste at their doorstep. The initiative comes after weeks of garbage rotting both on the city streets and landfills around it,and followed a nudge from the Karnataka High Court.
The move to codify the policy on integrated solid waste management was first adopted by Karnataka in 2004 following Supreme Court guidelines and the Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules 2000.
The Palike was only stirred into action after the combination of a strike by garbage disposal agents contracted by it and protests by people living around landfills where garbage was being dumped,leaving Bangalore drowning in its own mess.
Despite the hope that some change will occur with the Palikes plans to adhere to the waste rules of 2000,again little is expected. This is because of a major defect in the interpretation of the rules by urban local bodies.
Currently source segregation is placed after collection and storage by local bodies in their interpretation of the rules. Section 4(1) of the 2000 rules says every municipal authority shall be responsible for measures for collection,storage,segregation,transportation,processing and disposal of municipal solid wastes.
So,while there have been as many as 75 initiatives by resident welfare associations across Bangalore to create a doorstep segregation system,the Palike has stayed out leading these to die quiet deaths.
The new plan too puts the entire onus on citizens to segregate wet,dry and hazardous wastes. It threatens fines but offers no incentives. It also does not involve key stakeholders.
Given old experience,Bangalore isnt too hopeful.
The writer is Senior Assistant Editor based in Bangalore