Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Garbage City

In an on-going, and too slow recovery, the commissioner of the BBMP (the city agency that oversees city services) got the boot from his position by the state-level government today as the garbage crisis continues. 

The news was not seen as a solution in an article by the Times of India today. They stated in their view that "A week into the garbage crisis and all the government has done, apart from a few stop-gap measures to clear the muck from the streets and dump it at closed landfills, is find a fall guy."

As I mentioned in an earlier post, it all began when BBMP employees, most of the 11,000 of them, went on strike two weeks ago because, according to them, the BMTF -- the task force empowered to investigate and police the agency to root out corruption and other violations -- had been targeting them without merit; over one hundred employees had been named.  The strike affected city services including licenses, city records, and garbage pick up and disposal.

The garbage began building up in this city (Bangalore) of eight million pretty fast.  With the torrential rains off and on over the past week or so, the situation has gotten steadily worse.  On day three there was supposedly a deal struck, but even with small garbage truck loading up today, and the garbage pile that had been laying scattered [near my hotel] for days pushed into a tight pile, catching up seems far off, and the progress too slow to quell anger among residents.

To make the situation worse, the garbage that was being hauled off has been dumped in neighboring village dump sites, some of which have been closed.  This is creating a rising resistance from farmers around three major landfills, causing the BBMP disposal mechanism to all but collapse.   

The number of reported cases of illness has been on the rise too, including Dengue fever. 

Somehow I don't believe that the cows that roam the streets -- who stop to eat from the garbage piles -- is going to be enough to offset the problem.

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