On an average, nearly 20 tonnes of segregated combustible fraction is collected at the 33 DWCCs a month.
“The major problem is caused by other materials that are now categorised as ‘segregated combustible fraction’.
Hasiru Dala, for instance, sends segregated combustible fraction to cement factories in Kalaburagi.
After DWCCs were set up, nearly 80% of the dry waste that is received comprises of these materials,” she said.
They eat into the little space available at the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) DWCCs.
Dry waste collection centres (DWCCs) across the city are weighed down by the rise in the amount of non-recyclable garbage in the form of old mattresses, unusable cloth, furniture, footwear and multi-layered plastics. Along with polystyrene (thermocol), they are usually found stocked high in most centres in the city. More often than not, these materials cannot be recycled. They eat into the little space available at the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) DWCCs.
Nalini Shekhar from Hasiru Dala, which manages 33 DWCCs in the city, said that there are insufficient systems in place with regard to reuse and recycling of polystyrene. “The major problem is caused by other materials that are now categorised as ‘segregated combustible fraction’. Earlier, they used to go to landfills. After DWCCs were set up, nearly 80% of the dry waste that is received comprises of these materials,” she said.
Hasiru Dala studied the kind of waste that was coming into the DWCCs it managed. On an average, nearly 20 tonnes of segregated combustible fraction is collected at the 33 DWCCs a month. Each centre, Ms. Shekhar said, received a tonne of footwear and another tonne of non-usable clothes or cloth. “This is the price that the city is paying for consumerism,” she added.
N.S. Ramakanth, member, BBMP’s Expert Committee on Solid Waste Management, said that apart from the segregated combustible fraction, low-value plastic comprising thin plastic carry bags, plastic rolls, and the like, are also piling up at DWCCs. “The agencies managing the DWCCs are tying up with firms to send these materials to cement factories, where they can be used as fuel in kilns. This is allowed under the Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling), Rules, 2000,” said Mr. Ramakanth.
Hasiru Dala, for instance, sends segregated combustible fraction to cement factories in Kalaburagi. “As per the current arrangement, the cement factories are taking it for free. However, they claim that the calorific value is less due to the mattresses, cloth, etc. They need materials with calorific value of not less than 1,600 degrees Celsius,” said Ms. Shekhar.
She added that the city still had a long way to go to ensure a proper Extended Producers’ Responsibility (EPR) system, wherein companies take responsibility to manage the waste generated indirectly by them, is in place. Hasiru Dala tied up with an Indian consumer goods company for the proper management of ‘branded litter’ or multi-layered plastic, such as packets for biscuits, soap powder, chips, and similar items.
Mr. Ramakanth noted that the expert committee has for long been stressing upon the need to have at least one aggregation centre in each zone or Assembly constituency, where segregated combustible fraction, polystyrene and such material could be stored before being dispatched to cement factories. “We have been discussing this with the BBMP for over a year now. However, no progress has been made in this regard.”
BBMP’s Joint Commissioner (Health and SWM) Sarfaraz Khan said that the civic body is not worried about the disposal of polystyrene and packaging material. “These materials are picked up by recyclers themselves. However, it is the low grade/low value plastic that is difficult to dispose. As per the Chief Minister’s instructions, we will use this to lay roads,” he said.
When asked about segregated combustible fraction dumped across the city, he said that the BBMP had, in many cases, levied penalties on those found dumping these materials. The penalty, he claimed, ranges from ?50 to even ?1 lakh, depending on the quantum of material and the location where it is dumped.
He, however, admitted that the BBMP was facing hurdles in levying penalties. “Most health inspectors are working on contract and can’t levy penalties. They are required to take note of offences and report it to their senior health officers or assistant executive engineers,” he said and added that this was a major impediment before the civic body.
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