The great Garbage Business of Bengaluru

City generates around 5000 tonnes of garbage every day

3800 tonnes for it is transported to a distance of 25 to 40 kms

• BBMP spends Rs 400 crore
• Rs 15 crore is spent on garbage collection
• Rs 365 crore is spent on collection and transport

BBMP has Engaged 3500 Pourakaramikas (permanent workers) and contract workers
9000 Pushcarts for door to door collection
1500 Auto tippers to transport to transfer stations
450 Trucks to transport to landfills


1. 8 Lakh tonnes e-waste produced in 2012
2. 21.1 Lakh tonnes estimated in 2017
3. By 2025 globally India will be at 12th position in e-waste generation
4. 72 e-waste recognized recycling firms in the country 14 in Karnataka
5. 95.5% of e-waste is handled by informal sector only 4.5% is handled by govt- recognized recyclers

Bangalore is Third largest E- Waste Generator
Mumbai & Navi Mumbai – 61,500 tonnes
Delhi – 43,000 tonnes
Bangalore – 37,000 tonnes

Volume of E- waste generated in 2012
TV, electrical equipment – 75%
Computers – 20%
Mobile phones – 2%
Others – 3%

E-Waste contains Harmful chemicals like
• Lead
• Mercury
• Cadmium
• Arsenic
• Flame retardants

Due to irresponsible disposal of e-waste we find 40% lead and 70% heavy metals in our landfills


1. Source segregation of waste is must
2. Ban disposal of organic waste in plastic covers
3. Decenteralised wet and dry waste management centers at ward level
4. Polluter pay principle
5. Effective extended Producer’s Responsibility
6. Proximity principle
7. say no to normative principle
8. Say no to burnt technologies
9. Equal work equal pay (pourakarmika vs. contract labour)
10. Incentives best practice’s

The Jigsaw puzzle of waste management

The garbage issue in Bangalore is slowly becoming so overwhelming, that one wonders – can there ever be solutions, and where do we start ? Our hope lies in everyone doing their bit, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that fit together.

So, where should we start ? A lot of people have already done so. The BBMP has given out detailed guidelines on how to treat the different streams of waste. Let us begin by practicing these rules religiously. Never mind that the back-end solutions such as collection, transportation are still to fall in place. They will, in due course, but that is no excuse for us not to do our bit. Rome was not built in a day.

And what next ? The issue is a highly complex one, especially as we are talking about the waste generated by a population of 8.5 million people daily. What we need to realize, most urgently, is that waste has to be professionally managed, whether it is at the level of the apartment complex, the neighbourhood, the zone or the city. Every generator has to be held responsible for how much waste is generated, where it is being sent, and what is being done with it. Every contractor and treatment facility must be part of a strict monitoring process and must adhere to standard operating procedures.

Some of the solutions are not so difficult to implement – if we were for example, to ensure that all leaf litter, twigs and branches, are strictly not permitted to leave the neighbourhood, we would, I am sure save at least 10 to 15 % (maybe even more) of the organic waste from the landfill. They can very easily shredded and composted in our numerous parks. Dry waste collection centres, of which there are quite a few in the city now, can receive all the dry materials such as plastic, paper, metal, glass and e waste can be managed. If such centres receive only source segregated material, then cleanliness and hygiene can be ensured. And the acceptance of the community to their existence would be assured. The Centre operated by Full Circle in Anandnagar, Hebbal is one such example. Centres must have standard facilities such as fire extinguishers and other standard equipment. Any institution practising zero waste management must be recognized for doing so. For eg: they could be given a rebate in their taxes or provided a free collection facility for the rejects, which would be only for the minimum of 10 % of the total waste generated.

A number of categories of waste still do not have disposal/treatment solutions – thermocole, ceramic sanitary ware etc. Some categories of waste such as biscuit wrappers and chips packets do not have established channels for recycling. Industry must urgently get into the act and find solutions as part of their producer responsibility.

And last but not least – let us think of the people who help us deal with our waste. Pourakarmikas, waste pickers, people who work in landfills and composting units and so on. Let us do our bit by following the rules of segregation strictly. They deserve our consideration and empathy.

Anjana Iyer is the Trustee of Full Circle, a non profit organization working on sustainable waste management. The views expressed here are her own.

Full Circle, Bangalore

Full Circle is based in Bangalore and is registered as a Trust. Our organisation is committed to supporting and implementing sustainable solutions in the field of solid waste management, ecological sanitation and water conservation.

Full Circle is also committed to ensuring the protection of the livelihood of people involved in such areas, such as rag-pickers, and encourage employment so people can earn decent incomes through such projects. Full Circle provides fair and safe conditions of work and guarantees minimum wages. Our core environmental philosophy is based on the principles of reducing consumption, re-using materials wherever possible and recycling so as to ensure near zero waste returning to the earth.

Bangalore city alone generates around 3,000 tonnes of solid waste every day. This waste largely comes from households, commercial enterprises, educational institutions and corporate offices. All solid waste in cities is supposed to be managed as per the Municipal Solid Waste Management and Handling Rules outlined by the Supreme Court of the country.

This legislation makes it mandatory for waste
    • To be segregated at source
• To be managed locally without any open burning and
• Final disposal to take place in a scientific landfill.

Currently the implementation of these rules is very poor. Thus, solid wastes, which can actually help conserve natural resources is now considered a threat to human health and the environment.