Making Puttenahalli garbage free

The before and after pictures of a spot near Puttenahalli Lake show that making the road free of garbage is not impossible.

By Arathi Manay Yajaman

14 Dec 2010, Citizen Matters

A few days ago, a small first step was taken by members of Puttenahalli Neighbourhood Lake Improvement Trust towards a garbage-free Puttenahalli.

Before Cleanup Pic: Arathi Manay Yajaman

There is a spot on Puttenahalli Road, in front of Brigade Millennium Mayflower Block entrance which has been used for dumping. The cleaning up was assisted by the cobbler Chakravarthy who has a shop behind the dump and is also responsible for some of the garbage in the first place and a few others. The rubbish was enough to fill a large sack which was willingly carried away by the garbage truck, to Anjanapura dumping ground. Sidewalk stones that were removed by the BBMP and abandoned on a nearby footpath were placed appropriately and excavated mud from nearby was used to fill the crater. The exercise cost nothing but some dedicated time and a bit of muscle.

Chakravarthy and his wife have taken the responsibility of ensuring that nothing is dumped henceforth. They have put some plants in place to discourage dumping. Some policing is required from residents of the area, those of neighbouring Brigade Millennium in particular.

After Cleanup Pic: Arathi Manay Yajaman

The next step is to take this further, to try and clean up a longer stretch of Puttenahalli Road, and other roads of the area... but this is not going to be easy.

A quick survey and chats with the garbage contractors helps in identifying some of the sources of the rubbish:

- Morning-newspaper agents: The main road serves as the sorting centre for newspaper delivery agents. The plastic sheets and plastic binding tape that are used for packing the newspapers fly around the road, left to be collected by the morning sweepers. The binding tape is a hazard to pedestrians - there are several instances of it getting entangled in people's feet causing them to trip and fall.

- Vegetable, fruit, tender coconut and flower vendors

- Roadside tea, cigarette, pan stalls and eateries that produce plastic cups, banana peels, gutka packets, leftover food

- Shops: Sweep the shop clean and push the waste onto the road.

- Service providers like barbers, tyre repair, welding, cobbler, etc.

-Site/ home developers: Building debris, carpentry leftovers and the like - dig, demolish and then dump on the road and in storm water drains.

- stray animals like cows, dogs which leave dung and dog poo

- house garbage - some collected by the pourkarmikas and left in piles on the road for the garbage truck to pick up, some left by households. These are the congregating places for dogs, cows, rodents, other scavengers.

And last but not the least garbage on the road, is the one that needs some thought in tackling. Some years ago, BBMP removed the roadside dustbins and replaced them with door-to-door garbage collection. However, it is clear that there is a need for some sort of collection area/container at intervals in our neighbourhoods.

The pourkarmikas are unable/ unwilling to push their trolleys with garbage collected from households for long distances. They have themselves identified spots on the roads/ footpaths where they unload their collected rubbish for the garbage truck to pick up. These spots have no boundary, so the waste, either loose or in bags, gets scattered very quickly before it gets collected by the garbage truck.

As these places seem to be marked as ‘for garbage', they continue to be used as invisible dustbins by people of the neighbourhood, even after the garbage truck has left for the day, attracting dogs, cows, etc.

Point to note here is that despite having been given separate drums for collecting dry and wet waste, waste is still not segregated in most households. Even if the households to segregate, it is mixed by the pourkarmikas.

So we need to get a plan in place for the pourkarmikas so that they don't dump on the road or we need to get the roadside dustbins back or find some other way by which our roads are not used as dumps... Some thought required, needs to be worked with the BBMP.

Arathi Manay Yajaman

14 Dec 2010


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