Not all depend on BBMP to take trash away
Only a few of the 40-odd Bengaluru temples that began segregating waste a few years ago are doing so now.
T. Sundar, the head of management of Gali Anjaneya temple, Mysuru Road, said: “Disposing of waste was never a problem at our temple. Recently, we saw littering in and around the temple as a rising problem. Now we have combated that. We do not have two bins to segregate wet and dry waste. We leave it to the BBMP. They have never told us to segregate, nor have they provided an alternative.”
The head priest of Kadu Malleshwara temple, Malleswaram, said: “We composted the temple’s waste at the beginning. Somewhere in between we stopped doing it. One of the major reasons is that we do not do gardening near the temple. BBMP takes our waste and recycles it, so it seems futile to continue composting.”
The Iskcon temple on Chord Road does not depend on BBMP to clear its waste every day. The Observer noticed that during the early hours of the day, workers take the previous day’s waste to the nearest municipal waste bin. The temple segregates wet and dry waste before disposing of it.
Shakthi Kalyana Maha Ganapathi temple in Kalyan Nagar was one of the first temples in Bengaluru to have started composting. Former temple trustee Ashok Betraj said the potential for composting was obvious from the start. “We made our rules certain that no plastic was brought into the temple by devotees.”
According to a Times of India report, 25 temples in Karnataka were declared zero- waste zones. The government had allocated Rs 25 crore for waste management. Sri Banashankari Amma temple is the only temple in Bengaluru to be a part of this project.
Ashwath Narayana, head priest at Maramma temple, said: “Every morning at 7, a BBMP van collects the temple’s waste and leaves. We never had any problem with them because we did not even have to segregate. The BBMP does all the work. Littering is observed in and around the temple, but we clean it early in the morning and add it to the waste bin.”
The Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 state that each waste generator must separate their waste, store it separately, and hand it over to municipal employees or authorized waste pickers.
K. Malavi, wife of the priest of Subramanya Swamy temple, said: “We have discontinued seeking help from BBMP regarding the disposal of waste. BBMP waste collectors charge us between Rs 50 and Rs 100 per day to remove the temple’s waste. We cannot afford it. Hence, we dispose of it on our own.”
BBMP waste collectors have demanded money from Sri Varasiddhi Ganapathi Sannidhi, Malleswaram, too. H Nagaraju, the caretaker, recalled an incident: “The driver of the van had asked us to pay some money. When we refused, he stopped coming… for a few days. Later, the priest filed a complaint with the BBMP, and the van resumed collecting temple waste. There’s only one small bin that is for waste disposal, and is adjacent to the gate.”
T Mahantesh, a devotee, said: “The roads near these temples are always chaotic. I have never seen these roads clean. The BBMP van is always overflowing with waste. The roads cannot be maintained when people and street vendors are on the road. Traffic is a big issue here.”
N Murthy, an autorickshaw driver, shared: “Earlier, I witnessed the temple priest dispose of the waste in the nearest municipal bin. Now, the BBMP takes care of it. Every morning I see four to five vans visiting every temple in Malleswaram to collect waste.”
K Anil, health inspector, solid waste management, BBMP, said: “We avoid leaving any kind of waste at any place, including temples. Every morning, our collectors pick up waste and send it to the processing plant. We make sure no violations of the law happen under our watch.”
Savita Hiremath, an expert in composting and author of the book Endlessly Green, said: “Every day, we generate at least 65% of biodegradable waste. If we deposit the remaining non-biodegradable waste at dry waste management plants, we will have no problems at all. This shows how most of our problems can be solved with a minimum of effort.”
The temples which are being controlled by the state of Karnataka are divided into three categories. Temples earning more than Rs 25 lakh a year fall into category A, those earning between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 10 lakh in category B; and those earning less than Rs lakh in C category.