Bangalore: The newly appointed Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner, Rajneesh Goel's strict instructions to clear the garbage in the city and dump it in Mandur landfill has again brought the issue of landfills and the area's vulnerability to fore. Like Mandur and Mavallipura, there are many landfills in the city, which are facing serious health concerns in the vicinity and one such place is near Vrishabhavathi river in the outskirts of the city.
City Express undertook a reality check at this hitherto unknown place which has been suffering from the menace of garbage dump for the last 20-25 years. The clearance order of Mavallipura makes areas like Byramangala, Chowkalli and Gopalli near Vrishabhavathi river even more vulnerable. Apart from the industrial, agricultural and domestic wastes flowing into the river, garbage is dumped by Bangalore city every morning and evening.
The rate of diseases are already high in this locality and now the residents fear that like Mavalipura, people here might lose their lives. Villagers are suffering from a variety of health problems such as allergic rhinitis, allergic dermatitis, repeated intestinal infections, diarrhoea, sleeplessness, cough and upper respiratory tract infections.
Like Mandur and Mavallipura, there are many landfills in the city, which are facing serious health concerns.
Chandra Shekar, a resident of Byramangla said, “Every morning and evening, tons of garbage are dumped on one side of the river. Our kids have been suffering from various diseases. We do not have medical help nearby and every time, we have to go to Bidadi Hospital or BGS hospital.” Voicing a similar opinion, Karuna, also a resident of Byramangla says, “Mosquitoes are the major problem here among many others.”
A study conducted by Shankar B S, Balasubramanya N and Reddy M T of the Civil Engineering Department, EPCET, revealed that 57 per cent of the samples were non-potable. The concentrations of nitrate and total hardness were found higher and nearly 50 per cent of the samples examined indicated bacterial contamination in the groundwater. Leo Saldanha from Environment Support Group said, "There are around 15 such places in Bangalore. However, nobody is willing to come forward to tackle the menace. Hence, we are supporting communities that are ready to fight with us in bringing down the issues concerning their environment."
Random dumping all around the city causes not just environmental pollution of land, water and air from smoking garbage dumps, but also has health, economic and social consequences. Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) Chairman, A Sadashivaiah has assured to curb Mavallipura like situations anywhere in the state. He said, "I will undertake visits to all these places and examine the files as well."
India’s first Municipal Solid Waste (Management & Handling) Rules of September 2000 states that “wet” food wastes and “dry” recyclable wastes should not be mixed at the household or commercial level. The wet waste can be collected door-to-door and sent for composting, while the dry waste can be left to the informal sector’s rag pickers and kabadiwalas for recycling as usual. But still, the rule is still to be mandatorily put in practice.