As we all know, garbage collection and disposal is a big problem in this city. A few good women and men together came up with a segregation and disposal plan and compelled the government to adopt the same. After much begging and pleading and chasing and follow-ups with the government, it became a law. So three-way segregation was put in place. All was going well, until one day, one saw hoardings that promoted two-way segregation. I still don’t know the hows and whys of this new change.
And then we moved to Indiranagar, only to witness and experience the callous attitude of the people who should segregate waste and the people who should collect it.
There is a dry waste collection van (painted yellow) and a wet waste van (painted green). They DO NOT follow a schedule. They come at any time between 8.30am and 11.00am. Collection does not take place everyday. There is a pattern-of-sorts for the collection of wet waste – the van almost adhering to certain days of the week, but I cannot say the same about the dry waste collection. They whistle their way down the road, giving one no idea if it is the dry or wet van. So you need to first identify the van and accordingly hand over the appropriate garbage.
Even though we have to use colour-coded bins (green for wet waste and white for dry waste), I see garbage disposed in buckets and bins of all colours and also in those black disposal garbage bags. Buckets are handed back and the bags, I have noticed are collected separately, atleast by the wet waste van. Bins and buckets aside, the BIG question in my mind is about compliance when I saw diapers in a wet bin and the collector coolly picking it all up!
I must now explain why i complain as much as i have.
I lived in an apartment complex that is well known for the amenities it provides, for the wonderful social life (from Lohri in January to New Year’s Eve in December and soooo many events and festivals that are celebrated through the year!), dedicated Residents’ Association Teams elected year after year, a fantastic library and a group of dedicated eco-champs who put in a lot of their energy and efforts towards keeping the community plastic free, eco-friendly, carry out old newspaper collection and use the funds for the house-keeping staff, oversee zero-waste events, organise old-clothes drives, (the list goes on and one!) AND have taken up segregation very very seriously.
The community boasts of over 90% compliance and follows the three-way segregation method. Waste is picked up at a fixed time EVERY SINGLE DAY, even when short-staffed. There are special bins kept in a common place for used-bulbs and tube-lights, for broken glass, and for e-waste.
Do you see where I am getting? Now with this two-way system, has anyone wondered what happens to the sanitary waste, sharps, broken glass? Because dry-waste should be recyclables has anyone wondered what happens when recyclables are mixed with broken glass and sanitary waste and sharps? Does someone segregate this further? If they do, then it is in-human, and dangerous and hazardous. If it is not, then what happens to ‘dry-waste’? Landfill? Ouch!!! But isn’t that the reason we started segregating in the first place? To keep stuff away from landfills as far as we can????
Wake up Indiranagar, wake up Bangalore, wake up government! Let us not be negligent and careless! Let us all together do something about the pollution and environmental hazards that we ourselves are generating. Let us be the change we want to see in others!
It is the little drops that make a mighty ocean, no?