Waste Management

Bengaluru (and the world) have a notorious garbage problem. Plastic and garbage is everywhere, on every street ,in every place.

Solid waste is discarded solid materials generated by human activities in residential, commercial or industrial areas. Solid waste can be distinguished in three ways: (1) according to its origins, i.e. waste from residences, industries, industrial sites or institutions; (2) according to contents, i.e. whether it is organic, glass, plastic, paper or metal; (3) according to hazard, i.e. whether it is toxic, non-toxic, radioactive, flammable, or infectious.

Management of waste refers to collection, treatment and disposal of waste in a manner that reduces or eliminates adverse impacts of different kinds of disposed waste on the environment and human health.

Waste is managed either by centralised collection or de-centralised collection. In centralised collection method, waste is collected from door-to-door by waste collecting personnel, who hand over to a collection team, and who in turn dispose the waste in a landfill. In the de-centralised method, waste is collected from the wards of a city. The waste collectors segregate the material into bio-degradable and nonbiodegradable. The bio-degradable waste is composted. The non bio-degradable waste is split into metal, glass, plastic, etc and recyclers take it away for further treatment.

Bengaluru follows the ward-collection method but it has a growing solid waste problem. The city has the fastest percentage increase of solid waste generation in the country, at 1, 750%, second only to Delhi. As the population of Bengaluru has exploded and the city has burgeoned economically, so has the waste disposal. From 200 tonnes per day about two decades ago, presently, the city generates about 5,000 tonnes of garbage. Per capita waste generation in the city is about 250 grams per day. 

To combat this volume of waste, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), the governing municipal body for Bengaluru, has 20,000 pourakarmikas or waste collectors on roll to collect and process the city’s waste. The BBMP has earmarked over Rs 1,180 crores, of the municipal budget, for solid waste management for 2019. .

Across Bengaluru there are seven waste processing units and landfill sites. Bengaluru produces over 1 lakh tonnes of e-waste annually, being the third largest generator of e-waste in the country. To manage e-waste efficiently, there are several drop-off points in the city. Many private enterprises are also engaged in managing solid and electronic waste in organised manner. 

Sustainability and waste management go together. Efficient disposal of waste contributes to healthy human health and wellbeing of the environment. Bengaluru Sustainability Forum concerns itself with challenges facing the city. Managing waste efficiently is a massive task for Bengaluru. The Forum is a place that lends a helping hand towards making Bengaluru sustainable by bringing people together under one roof to discuss ideas and disseminate knowledge.

On the virtual space though, Bengaluru Sustainability Forum hosts a repository of projects, weblinks and reports on waste and waste management in Bengaluru. These can be found by scrolling below.