The challenges faced by Bengaluru in managing its waste came to the fore at Swarajya Cityscapes, where civic and environment experts explored possible solutions and highlighted shortcomings in handling this monumental task.
Civic activist N S Ramakanth stressed that citizen involvement is the first step towards a clean environment, rather than leaving everything to the government. He put forward two sutras for achieving this: One, think before you throw; and two, our waste, our responsibility. Proper segregation of waste generated at festivals and organising eco-friendly weddings will go a long way in solving this problem, said Ramakanth.
Environmental activist Ramesh Sivaraman said civic authorities are incapable of using data and technology for solid waste management, and there is also no expertise available for safe disposal of solid waste. He suggested four cardinal rules to be followed for effective disposal of solid waste – collection, transfer, transit and processing. Citing all-India statistics, he said urban India generates 151,000 tonnes of solid waste every day. According to him, after the ‘cleaner India’ drive was launched, only 58 per cent partial door-to-door collection of waste has been implemented across the metros, which he said was not up to the mark.
Wilma Rodrigues, founder, NGO Saahas, sounded a positive note when she said, “we have solutions” and an “exceedingly good system in place” but there is no proper implementation.
She said the waste disposal sector has immense employment potential, and underlined the need to bring technology within the reach of those who work with waste, ensuring dignity of labour and hygiene.
Civic activist Siddharth Joshi said looking beyond policies and systems, training and welfare of workers on the ground have to be looked after. He questioned what benefits privatisation of waste management brought other than fragmenting the whole system.
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