Citizens demand the shut down of the KCDC plant in SS Palya

The KCDC plant in SS Palya

Bangalore, 27-09-2017: The Karnataka Compost Development Corporation plant in Somsundarapalya continues to remain in operation despite citizen calls to shut it down.

Members of the Kudlu, Haralukunte, Hosapalya, Somsundarapalya, Parangipalya (KHHSP) Resident Welfare Association, in their petition to the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, call the plant not only a waste processing unit but also a landfill.

In 2008, the plant was ‘abandoned’. Despite the non-functional status of the plant, citizens said that garbage continued being dumped within the vicinity of the plant. The dumped garbage was also not being cleared by the authorities.
The plant, which approximately occupies an area of 11.16 hectares of land, was constructed exclusively for wet waste. But, the plant continues to receive mixed waste in its garbage input resulting in foul smell emanating from the plant.
Sankar S Sarma, member of the KHSSP RWA said, “Our workplaces are far off. But my daughter’s school was right opposite my residence, close to the plant. We can shut windows and doors at our home to contain the smell. But, my daughter always mentioned of how both, the home and school are stinking.” The Facebook Page of Mount Litera Zee School Parents Association, Bangalore has parents complaining about the foul smell from the plant and the difficulties children have because of it.

In 2013, the plant re-opened on the basis of an order issued by the Karnataka High Court. Sankar S Sarma adds, “We, as the RWA, had requested the plant to accept less than 100 tons of garbage. But, the average garbage input of the plant is 180-200 tons. We have no clue about where the garbage is coming from.” The plant has 1,50,000 tons of garbage dumped in hillocks.
Sankar said, “There were plans of constructing a 1.25 MLD capacity STP close to the plant. Currently, sewage is being transported to the Kadubeesanahalli STP. In case, the Kadubeesanahalli STP is unable to take the load from the plant, sewage is transported all the way to Kengeri.”

The plant has been slammed with compliance violations in the petition submitted by the RWA to Karnataka State Legislative Assembly, too. Members of the RWA claim that the plant has approximately encroached four acres of the Somsundarapalya Lake. Discharge of untreated leachate has also degraded the quality of groundwater and surface-water. The presence of E Coli and Coliform bacteria, which otherwise should not be present, has been found. The use and maintenance of bio-filters to contain the stench from the plant is also being questioned by the residents in the petition.

The compost generated by the plant has not found a lot of takers, either. The RWA claims that 3,000 tons of compost is lying in the plant unused because of low quality.

Mr. Veerabhadraswamy, Managing Director, Karnataka Compost Development Corporation (KCDC) and Joint Commissioner, Bommanahalli Zone, Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) said, “On what basis are people asking it to be shut down? It's been running since 1975. Some people in nearby apartments might be asking it to be shut down for their own benefit. But, shutting it down is not possible. We won't do it. The pollution board is giving them consent. And our chairman is telling us to fix the buffer zone."
Marcy Newman from the Daily Dump said, “With reference to mass composting, it is always better to be in control of your own waste. You know what you are doing and how you are doing. While I don’t completely blame them, what the BBMP is doing is a disaster. That is also because of the mixed waste they receive from the public. The state of composting plants is also a reason. Thus, I would recommend composting at a micro-scale over mass composting.”

Kavitha Reddy, member of the KHHSP RWA and Secretary, Karnataka Pradesh Mahila Congress Committee said, “There are three perspectives to this story: economical, political and social. Environmentally, the plant has greatly contributed to soil contamination, water and air pollution. It has affected livability by which I mean it has even affected something as basic as breathing. Politically, this plant is a ‘born disaster’. As an aspiring representative of this constituency, I believe that decisions and policies must incorporate social and political viability. This plant has none. The authorities are aware of the problems. They have acknowledged it but nothing has been done. If you don’t have the willpower, capability and confidence to run the plant, shut it.”

 

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