Originally published in The Hindu

BBMP to invite tenders to put up 260 twin dustbins equipped with sensors and GSM technology

If the city administration has its way, 260 massive twin dustbins will soon adorn Bengaluru’s street corners.

Twelve such hi-tech bins — equipped with sensors and GSM technology to send out messages to people informing them about when they have to be emptied — were introduced on a pilot basis in May this year. Now, the BBMP plans to introduce these one-tonne capacity bins on a larger scale, and will be issuing tenders for the bins in the coming week.

Citizens groups working in the solid-waste management sector are left “fuming and frustrated” over the policy reversal of returning to dustbins. For 16 years, the city has been free of street-corner bins, and such a move implies the lack of will to enforce segregation at source, they say.

‘Kept out of the loop’

N.S. Ramakanth, member of the High Court-appointed Expert Committee on SWM in the BBMP, said the committee was kept out of the loop over the decision. He has sent a protest letter to the BBMP over the installation of these bins. Such public bins, he argues, will only hamper segregation and take the city back to pre-2000 days, a phase the city has put behind in terms of both policy and infrastructure.

Besides the SWM Expert Committee, other citizens groups working in the sector — SWM Round Table, Hasiru Mitra and Hasiru Dala — have also opposed the move tooth-and-nail. They argue that even though there are separate bins for dry and wet waste, people will not voluntarily follow the rules.

Earlier experiments with public bins have only ended in non-segregation of waste and creating black spots around the bins.

“We set up an e-waste bin at Malleswaram in 2014. But in a month’s time we saw all kinds of mixed waste being dumped in the bin. Just go check the bins at the airport and you will see mixed waste there too, even in bins marked for only plastic bottles. Any public bins will be abused,” argues Vani Murthy of SWM Round Table.

The expert committee on SWM has now suggested that these bins be manned 24/7 to prevent people from abusing the system. Undeterred by the opposition, the BBMP is going ahead with the tenders.

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