Tweak design to make DWCCs more efficient: study

BBMP Joint Commissioner (SWM) admits to several shortcomings

Ragpickers in the Dry Waste Collection Centres (DWCCs) of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) often work in congested spaces with leaky roofs, inadequate ventilation and lack of washrooms.

Hasiru Dala, an organisation that works to bring ragpickers into the mainstream, conducted a study of 16 DWCCs in the city to document the operational issues they face. The survey was conducted by four students from the University of Washington and was coordinated by Hasiru Dala’s project manager Indha Mahoor and housing project coordinator Karthik Natarajan, along with on-field associates.

“The design of most DWCCs is based on a circular issued by the civic body in February 2013. Most DWCCs function out of cramped spaces and have a host of problems. We looked into the design, composition of waste received, number of people working in the centre and role in solid waste management of the city,” said Nalini Shekar, director of Hasiru Dala.

Some of the common design challenges included poor lighting and ventilation, lack of proper plumbing and sanitary connections, structurally unsound buildings, and space constraint.

Hasiru Dala had experimented with a few design changes in the DWCC at Marappana Palya, which has shown visible results in both operations and lives of workers, said Ms. Shekar.

The study took into consideration growth, working conditions, type of waste received (beyond recyclables) and operational necessities, such as flow of waste through the centres. Some of the recommendations by the authors are installation of CCTVs, a garden or space for planting flowering plants such as jasmine, tube roses, champa, cestrum etc. to keep foul smell in check, rainwater harvesting, solar lights, pest control measures, and a small composting unit to discard wet waste that comes in with dry waste, a storage drum for dry leaves, and proper sanitary bins.

Ms. Shekar said that the study was first conducted for ‘internal consumption’. “We wanted to see how to make the 33 DWCCs we operate more efficient by altering the design. But later, we came up with a set of recommendations that can be incorporated in any DWCC in the State. This was based on our experience of working in other cities, including Madikeri, Tumakuru, Nelamangala and Mysuru.”

Hasiru Dala will be submitting the report to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike and the Department of Municipal Administration.

BBMP Joint Commissioner (Solid Waste Management) Sarfaraz Khan admitted that DWCCs across the city had several shortcomings. “We know that when it comes to design, there is room for improvement. The BBMP has also conducted an assessment and will be upgrading 10 DWCCs this year, for which budgetary allocation has been made,” he said. He added that the BBMP will take into consideration recommendations made by stakeholders like Hasiru Dala.

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