Court to monitor transition to full segregation and processing
The principal bench of the Karnataka High Court has issued a series of unprecedented directions to the Bruhan Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) on the handling and management of municipal solid waste generated in Bengaluru. The directions were issued while hearing a petition filed by non-profit Environment Support Group (ESG) which had challenged an October order of the state pollution control board that temporarily extended authorisation to operate the landfill at Mavallipura.
The board had earlier revoked the closure order of the Mavallipura landfill.
On November 22, the court directed that garbage should be segregated at source (at the household level) and the segregated waste be transported to recycling units with no mixing in trucks, as is the case at present. It also directed BBMP and the state government to ensure that wet waste processing stations are made operational in the city’s 28 assembly constituencies within two months and at least three stations are made operational in each of the 198 wards in the city within four months.
As a short-term measure to tackle accumulated waste, the court accepted a submission by the Karnataka state advocate general and directed that wet waste from the city should be taken to a facility at Chikkanagamandala village, and dry waste, collected twice a week, should be taken to the Mandur garbage processing unit.
The court also gave orders to revive the Karnataka Compost Development Corporation (KCDC), which had gone defunct after successfully composting city waste for decades. In a letter dated November 17, KCDC has mentioned that of 0.96 million tonnes of garbage received, it has processed 0.8 million tonnes, while the rest is being processed at the rate of 200 tonnes per day. Despite the accumulation, KCDC has shown willingness to receive an additional 100 tonnes of segregated wet waste per day. The court has directed BBMP and the government to urgently respond to the letter.
The court also said it will monitor the transition from the present messy state to full segregation and processing by asking the state government and BBMP to file a status report within two weeks of the order. Leo Saldanha of ESG says: “If BBMP fails to comply with orders in the next two weeks, it will be contempt of court.” He said that once segregation is implemented properly, ESG will press for decontamination of Mavallipura and other garbage dumps in villages around the city.
Earlier, the court had issued stern reprimands to city commissioner Rajneesh Goyal following attempts to present a rosy picture of the garbage situation and had warned that it would not hesitate to supersede BBMP if it fails to deal with the garbage menace.