New Delhi: Bengaluru, India’s Silicon Valley, the erstwhile garden city has now become infamous for its garbage crisis. The city is currently leaving no stone unturned to improve its ranking in the Swachh Survekshan 2020. Bengaluru has so far never managed to secure a position in the top 100 cities in the annual cleanliness survey of cities. 2017 Swachh Survekshan ranked Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) at 210, which dropped further to 215 in 2018. Last year, BBMP did improve its ranking to 194 and is aiming to further improve its ranking this time. But the problem of waste management and poor citizen participation continue to be a challenge.
Bengaluru’s Waste Woes
The city generates 4000 metric tonnes (MT) of waste everyday but only 1200 MT is processed and the remaining 2800 MT, which is mixed waste, is dumped IN the landfill. Talking about the reason behind poor management of waste, Randeep D, Special Commissioner, Solid Waste Management at BBMP, says,
The challenge is huge in terms of the auto tippers not coming on time, the waste collection system not catering to 100 per cent of the waste generators and door to door collections. Also, waste generators are not segregating waste at source despite it being a mandate. There are people who throw mixed waste at black spots. We cannot do manual segregation and don’t have huge segregation plants so the entire waste ends up at a landfill.
BBMP has tied up with a third party for regular collection and transportation of waste but according to the civic body the agency hired for waste collection is not performing its job well. Their auto tippers are not designed to collect segregated waste.
While there is a section of society that does not segregate waste, there are people who practise waste segregation but waste collectors are not capable of carrying it in a segregated manner till the end, says Randeep D.
To overcome the challenge of waste collection, BBMP is planning to install GPS devices on waste collection vehicles so that it can monitor its movement and ensure regular collection of waste in all the wards. To further strengthen waste management in the city, the civic body is pushing bulk waste generators to manage their waste within their premises.
Even for small waste generators, we are promoting the concept of home composting of wet waste. Dry waste is easy to pick up and has good recycling value so that can be managed by BBMP, says Randeep D.
Talking about the problem of waste in the city, Nalini Shekhar, co-founder of Hasiru Dala, a social impact organisation working in Bengaluru, says,
Wherever citizens and RWAs (Resident Welfare Associations) are active waste segregation level is as high as 80 per cent. Where BBMP officials are active those areas are also faring well. While domestic waste segregation is quite good, problem is with small commercial establishment who neither relay on BBMP services nor can afford empaneled vendors.
Cleaning Up The Black Spots: BBMP Aims To Score Through Direct Observation
In Swachh Survekshan 2019, our ranking improved from 215 (in 2018) to 194 but one of the reasons we didn’t see a drastic change in our ranking was evaluators didn’t find the city clean enough, says Randeep D.
While ranking a city, one of the criteria is direct observation under which independent agency visiting the city and making crucial observations on the ground gives marks to the city. This time, 1500 marks have been allotted to direct observation.
In Bengaluru, finding black spots that is public spaces boasting tonnes of unattended waste is no mean task. Adding to this, Randeep D says,
Anyone who comes to our city finds garbage lying here and there. To change this, we cleaned and beautified 200 black spots. We hope people will maintain the cleanliness and won’t make beautified spots a local dumping ground, again.
BBMP is hard at work. In a short time, 200+ such black spots have been removed in #Bengaluru.#SwachhSurvekshan2020Bengaluru #NammaOoruSwachhaBengaluru #SwachhSurvekshan2020 #BBMP @SwachSurvekshan @swachhbharat @CMofKarnataka @BBMP_MAYOR @csogok @KarnatakaVarthe pic.twitter.com/YBa4mIW2Rx
— B.H.Anil Kumar,IAS (@BBMPCOMM) January 23, 2020
To instill the message of cleanliness and make people understand the efforts sanitation workers put in and the manpower hours required in cleaning one black spot, BBMP shared a video on social media as well.
It takes a few seconds to fling waste in public spaces but takes hours to clean up. Here’s a video detailing a black spot cleanup.
ಸ್ವಚ್ಚ ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿಗೆ ಸಹಕರಿಸಿ ????????https://t.co/F5ylxKxAb2#SwachhSurvekshan2020Bengaluru #NammaOoruSwachhaBengaluru #BBMP #Bengaluru @swachhbharat pic.twitter.com/99bBN9N6S5
— BBMP Solid Waste Mgmt Special Commissioner (@BBMPSWMSplComm) January 17, 2020
This particular initiative has received a great response from citizens. In a video shared by BBMP Commissioner on Twitter, a resident says,
Yesterday, this place was filed with garbage and today I am surprised to stand here. It is difficult to transform the entire society at once. We have to transform one person at a time.
Residents of Thippasandra shared their sentiments after the black spot was cleared. Here is what they had to say…#SwachhSurvekshan2020Bengaluru #NammaOoruSwachhaBengaluru #BBMP #Bengaluru @CMofKarnataka @BBMP_MAYOR @KarnatakaVarthe
@csogok @swachhbharat @SwachSurvekshan pic.twitter.com/NMBGu35N0D
— B.H.Anil Kumar,IAS (@BBMPCOMM) January 18, 2020
Citizen Feedback Continue To Be A Challenge
Citizen feedback was another reason why BBMP’s ranking didn’t improve much in Swachh Survekshan 2019 and the history might repeat itself. According to BBMP, ideally, 1 per cent of the population should give their feedback by participating in Swachh Survekshan. In the case of Bengaluru, at least 1.3 lakh feedback should be registered but the city is struggling to reach 20,000 mark.
To encourage people to give their feedback, we did huge social media campaign, floated feedback form in WhatsApp groups, advertisement in the newspaper, says Randeep D.
The team even established information centres to educate people on how to participate in Swachh Survekshan.
ಗಣರಾಜ್ಯೋತ್ಸವದ ಅಂಗವಾಗಿ ಲಾಲ್ ಬಾಗ್ ನಲ್ಲಿ ನಡೆಯುತ್ತಿರುವ ಪುಷ್ಪ ಮೇಳದಲ್ಲಿ #ಬಿಬಿಎಂಪಿ ಯು ಮಾಹಿತಿ ಕೇಂದ್ರ ತೆರೆದು @SwachSurvekshan ಕುರಿತು ಜನರಲ್ಲಿ ಜಾಗೃತಿ ಮೂಡಿಸುತ್ತಿದೆ. #SwachhSurvekshan2020Bengaluru ರಲ್ಲಿ ಯಾವ ರೀತಿ ಭಾಗವಹಿಸಬೇಕೆಂದು ಮಾಹಿತಿ ನೀಡಲಾಗುವುದು.
— B.H.Anil Kumar,IAS (@BBMPCOMM) January 20, 2020
ODF Certificate To Bring In 100 Marks
Under certification introduced by the MoHUA, 500 marks have been allotted to the cities that have successfully achieved ODF, ODF plus, and ODF plus plus status. Since BBMP has only ODF certificate, the city will get 100 marks under certification.
We have applied for ODF plus, and ODF plus plus and have requested SBM team to conduct an inspection but that is pending. If we get that before Swachh Survekshan concludes, we will get 400 marks, says Randeep D.
BBMP’s Performance In Swachh Survekshan League
This year, for the first time, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs introduced Swachh Survekshan League a quarterly cleanliness assessment of cities and towns in India. In Swach Survekshan 2020, average of the result of quarter 1 and quarter 2 of Swachh Survekshan (SS) League 2020 carries 200 marks. Unfortunately, BBMP didn’t perform well in SS league as well.
While in quarter one of SS league, among cities with a population over 10 lakh, BBMP secured 43rd position, in the second quarter, it stood on 36th position. Talking about the same, Randeep D says,
Our performance was not good because for the first time quarterly assessment was being done. We were taken by surprise and were not ready at all. We couldn’t update MIS report and submit documentation on time. But quarter 3 onwards we picked up and submitted all the documents and progress report within deadline.
From going door to door to educate people about waste segregation, running a massive social media campaign asking people to practice waste segregation, avoid single-use plastic, and participate in the Swachh Survekshan survey, to introducing a ‘shame’ campaign to stop people from urinating in open, to fining industries and individuals for using banned plastic and not segregating waste, this year BBMP has tried every option in their book to achieve a better ranking in the cleanliness survey.
Well aware of its position in the field of waste collection and management, BBMP now plans to continue working in the same direction and shed the title of ‘garbage city of India’.
The largest challenge right now is to enforce and make people accountable for the segregation of their waste. For this, we are resorting to awareness campaigns and will also be telling waste collectors to not collect mixed waste. Parallelly, ensure that the collection system is catering to 100 per cent of the waste generators. Everyone needs to come together and make Bengaluru clean, signs off Randeep D.
To inculcate the clean and green way of life and urge people to work towards making Bengaluru spic and span, on January 24 BBMP launched swachh anthem titled Jotheyagi meaning together. The anthem focusses on bringing about change together.
“We can do it together. Let’s be together and let’s bring change together. Let’s then be able to help others one day.”
The wait is over! Namma #Bengaluru has its own anthem titled ಜೊತೆಯಾಗಿ (Jotheyagi), meaning together. #BBMP urges citizens to take the first look at the anthem here https://t.co/bfxA4h6ta7
Advisory:????required for clarity.#SwachhSurvekshan2020Bengaluru #NammaOoruSwachhaBengaluru
— B.H.Anil Kumar,IAS (@BBMPCOMM) January 24, 2020