Bangalore is the country’s fourth largest construction and demolition waste producer in India. But, it is not able to manage and process waste effectively.
The seven landfill sites identified by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) for the management and processing of construction and demolition (CDW) waste exist only on paper.
Following the directions of the High Court in 2015, the BBMP identified seven sites to dump CDW. But out of the seven sites, none of them, as on today, is functional.
Rajesh K from Rock crystals who is an approved vendor for the BBMP said, “The process in Bangalore is very similar to what is happening everywhere in the world. Everything is being dumped in lakes. Nothing else is happening. That is the reality. Nobody is sending any waste here. We have no clue where all the waste is going.”
A report by the Center for Study of Science, Technology & Policy estimated that the total CDW generation in Bangalore was around 2,500 tonnes per day in 2014 and is expected to grow to 4,118 tonnes per day by 2020. Also, the conclusions of the report suggest that 60-80 per cent of the CDW waste is fit for reutilization. However, the BBMP has failed to take advantage of the waste due to poor monitoring and administration
The sites that were mentioned in the BBMP notification released in 2016 are not functional and the BBMP officials are not aware of the existence and location of the site.
A member of the Solid Waste Management Expert Committee explained, “We have seven plants but they are not operating. The BBMP reported a blatant lie in the court that all seven plants are functioning. The fact of the matter, however, is that two of the seven plants are absolutely not functional for the past one year. They are sending mixed waste to this private operator called NSGP, at a rate of Rs. 1400-1600 of taxpayer’s money per ton, to accept the waste and dump it.”
The expert committee member added, “Corruption and the lack of administrative and political will to do the right thing is what is keeping this country dirty. Significant things are happening but, unfortunately, not in Bangalore.”
After identifying the sites in 2016, BBMP has failed to properly manage the workflow of the CDW processing and disposal. There are many loopholes within the supervisorycommittee and the departments involved. The rules (LINK) C&D WM Rules 2016 suggests the state government should prepare a policy document for the management of the CDW while taking care of the rules within one year of the notification of the rules. However, there is no such policy document in place even after two years. Also, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board was supposed to monitor the implementation of the rules by the local bodies and send a cumulative report to the central pollution board. The state board was unable to confirm the implementation of the rule.
“They have not convened the expert committee meeting for a couple of months. The courts had directed it routinely a long time ago and it was done then. We also cannot direct anything and can only advice, unfortunately. The BBMP is bent on dumping mixed waste in quarries and refuses to take our advice,” the expert committee member said.