Thursday, October 25, 2012


Mafia’s are still controlling our waste

The garbage dumps and solid wastes are increasingly becoming up-for-grabs between contractors and mafias, who are competing with each other like never before for share of a larger slice of the pie. In doing so, they are leaving no stone unturned to retool their tactics in escaping the existing laws and manipulate the establishment, in their pursuit of solid waste maneuvering.

In Bangalore, for instance, the mafias who had sole dominion over garbage collection met with a jolt when BBMP (The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) attempted to do it in a better way, by recycling procedures done through increasing awareness for segregation at source, i.e., the households. In retaliation, the mafias have dumped heaps of garbage in prohibited and clean zones. The situation is further mired by the conniving nexus between politicians and contractors in a business that can be described as ‘black gold’ worth Rs.430 crore annually in Bangalore alone. The partisan obligation of the BBMP officials was busted in 2008 by BMTF (Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force) enquiry, where as many as 80 officers and 40 contractors were found in the tangle of financial wrongdoings. Bangalore spends Rs.430 crore a year on garbage disposal, which is way ahead of many metropolitan cities of India like Mumbai (which has double the population of Bangalore) with Rs.191 crore, Delhi with Rs.177 crore and Chennai with Rs.135 crore.

The mafias are in thick in their strive to control the garbage knolls in the country’s national capital too. The prerogatives and the style of operation in Delhi by the garbage mafias are ditto to Bangalore. Th at is the reason, why Delhi government is trying to endorse the privatisation of the business so that mafia-recruited 3.5 lakh waste pickers (mostly children) can also be dealt with simultaneously. Also, on Delhi government’s agenda, waste-to-energy plants, for which the neighbourhood solid wastes are burnt by the government – comes as another blow to the powerful mafia lobbies.

Owing to garbage mafia and cartel, the entire drive of segregation of waste by the civic authorities comes to a stand-still. The rag pickers don’t comply by the governmental/ civic authorities norms and eventually end up picking even the recyclable waste. What’s worse is that these children do so to make living out of paper, plastics, bottles and other similar products at meager price while their employers making millions out of it by selling it to corporations and industries.

The dominance of these unorganised gangsters in garbage collection business can only be weakened throughout and out privatisation which will be a win-win situation for society and local municipal authorities. As it happens across the world, private companies, if given contract, can directly pick waste from the city and eventually use the recyclable materials for their own use. Consider this: 80 per cent of the raw materials for paper industry are consumed from waste paper, the bulk of which is imported with an annual bill of $750 million. Surprisingly, India is likely to use only 20 per cent of the recycled fibre as compared to 40 per cent in many developed countries. Comprehending the same, companies like ITC, Antony Waste Handling Cell Pvt. Ltd. and AKC are trying to retrieve the same before it gets lost permanently as landfills.

The government must come forward and at least release this business out of their fist and allow corporate with high level of expertise and professionalism to handle the same. Th is will also work as incentives for motivating environment-friendly corporations and will reduce loss of reusable waste. Above all, it will keep the roads clean and finally will free rag-pickers from the clutches of these mafia’s who after all lead an unhygienic life and later on carry multiple diseases with them.


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