Living amid toxic landfills
By Manish M Mehta - BANGALORE
24th July 2012 08:39 AM
Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is spending most of its allocated solid waste management funds on transporting the waste rather than holistically managing the disposal of solid waste in the city. The resulting, cascading effect has been the creation of massive toxic landfills which are located 20 to 30 kilometres away from the city.
The cost of transporting 3,000 tonnes of waste that is generated every day in the city comes to a whopping `450 crores annually while according to estimates, it is the contractors-cum-owners who are the real beneficiaries.
For several years, the dumping of solid waste in the landfills located in the city outskirts has been a cause for serious concern affecting the health of the citizens based in and around this region. Apart from this, birds attracted by these landfills have posed a serious danger to the flying training aircrafts at the nearby Yelahanka Air Force Station. According to Airforce sources, at least 11 aircraft of the base have suffered bird hits in the past one year.
The recent decision of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board to shut down the Mavallipura landfill operated by Ramky, on the grounds that the company has totally violated all the clearance conditions and applicable legal norms (the facility has absolutely no environmental and health safeguards), is a welcome step, though a delayed measure.
The additional direction that all the waste dumped there should be processed, composted and the refuse translocated to Mandur landfill within three months will be closely monitored by the local communities.
Instead of taking up this task seriously, the BBMP is now pushing and planning to turn Mavallipura into a waste-to-energy project. When this project was cleared, it was done in total violation of the norms and rules contained in the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006 and the Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules, 2000, and also without any statutory consultation with local communities as required by law.
Quite simply, BBMP can invest the same money in forcing Bangalore’s population to segregate waste at source and composting the waste locally rather than investing on such landfills or incinerators which are completely hazardous.
Keeping in view all these circumstances, people living nearby Mavallipura have demanded the following: Mavallipura landfill must be shut down and the Waste to Energy project proposal cancelled.
All waste accumulated in the landfills must be processed to recover their organic manure content, and the non-recyclable and toxic refuse taken to other appropriate landfills such as Mandur.
All families who have lost a member due to such toxic pollution, or have people suffering from diseases, must be comprehensively taken care of, compensated and free medical health camps must be organised regularly in all villages to ensure no family suffers any further. There is a host of other demands that include compensation and legal issues.
Speaking to City Express B Srinivas, Member, Shivakote Panchayat said, “What people of Bangalore are doing to us is nothing short of murder. People who pass by this area literally cover themselves because of the stench and pollution. If we protest, we are tortured by the police. I have 8 cases pending against me,” he concludes.
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