bangalore's municipal body has been dumping waste, including biomedical waste, on the fringes of the Bannerghata National Park for eight months, putting to risk the health of people and wildlife.
Two to eight truckloads of waste makes its way right past the Talaghattapura Range Forest Officer's office and mounds of waste have come up outside the forest, one just 150 m from the park boundary. "We can't bear the smell. There are flies and maggots everywhere. Our children are falling ill and we suffer from headache," said Jayamma of Guttepalya village. Tharlur and Gopalpura villages are similarly affected, and Uruvylu, Kagalipura Vasudevapura and Gulukamali are at threat.
The Bruhut Bangalore Mahanagar Palike (bbmp) contractor is supposed to dump the waste at a landfill, but he approached farmers near the park with the offer of dumping garbage on their land for Rs 180-200 per truckload. The dump site in Guttepalya lies in a stream bed which discharges water into the village pond. Prathap Ratnaswamy of the village, whose farm is close to the dump site, filed a complaint with the Talghatapura police station against his neighbour on whose land dumping was taking place. The Ratnaswamys have stopped drinking water from bore wells.
Once a picturesque village Guttepalya itself has changed in the past three years. The garbage lorries have scared away grey jungle fowl, spotted dear, dhole, cheetal, wild boar and rabbits.
The Karnataka Pollution Control Board (kpcb) has served notices to bbmp. "We have ordered confiscation of the trucks and filed criminal cases against the contractor and bbmp," said Sharat Chandra, chairman, kpcb. The villagers said the dumping was still continuing at a site further away but on park fringes.
bbmp said it could not dismiss the contractor as the waste had to be collected. "We have levied a fine of Rs 1 lakh on the contractor and warned him that his licence would be revoked if it happened again," said Vasant Rao, joint commissioner for health, bbmp. Two landfills are operational in Bangalore and four more are coming up.
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