• The Government of Karnataka is contemplating the relocation of waste processing facilities, operational in Bengaluru, to the outskirts of the city.
  • Officials have been tasked with identifying land parcels, each spanning 100 acres, in various directions from the city, preferably in Bengaluru Rural and Ramanagara districts.
  • However, this initiative will face significant challenges, primarily from the villages surrounding the locations.

How have existing facilities performed?

  • Historically, composting facilities at most waste­processing sites set up by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) such as at Kudlu, Mavallipura, Mandur, Lingadeeranahalli, Kannahalli, and Seegehalli, have encountered strong opposition largely due to the inefficient operations at these plants.
  • The plants have indeed consistently received more waste than their designed capacities and have operated at less than 50% efficiency.
  • This excess quantity of material in the process has resulted in leachate and odour issues, affecting the environs and livelihoods of people living nearby.


  • The new waste­ processing facilities should ideally have the capacity to process 1,000 TPD each to ensure that all the 6,000 TPD of waste generated in the city are processed.
  • The technology of choice should be the composting of fresh waste, which is also suitable to the weather conditions of Bengaluru.
  • About 60% of the waste is biodegradable wet waste, some 25% is dry waste (including plastics and other recyclable materials), and the remaining 15% consists of inert materials, such as silt and stones.
  • Each facility should be designed to incorporate a 600­TPD composting facility, a 250­TPD material recovery facility (to manage dry waste), and a 150­TPD scientific landfill to dispose of the inert fraction.


  • There might be primarily issues of odour and leachate.
  • Another major concern is likely to be land acquisition and changes in land-­use patterns.

How should local concerns be addressed?

  • The main importance is to address the odour and leachate concerns.
  • These plants should have tertiary­ level facilities to treat leachate and ensure they are properly treated, making them suitable for internal use.
  • The main cause of odour in waste­ processing facilities is the high moisture content in the material when it is being composted.
  • To manage this, the waste ­processing plants should be equipped with high ­capacity lane turners or windrow­turning equipment instead of having to be turned manually using excavators.
  • Another major concern is likely to be land acquisition and changes in land­use patterns.
  • Considering the new plants will have to be set up quickly, the government may opt for state­-owned vacant plots, as it has in the past, to avoid the tedious process of land acquisition.
  • However, change in the use of land from an open space to waste ­processing will affect the local terrain and rainwater management.
  • To address these issues, the government must conduct thorough geotechnical investigations first.
  • Since these plants will be located in rural areas, the government should also engage the primary consumers of the compost- farmers in the process in addition to offering free organic compost to villages settled near these facilities.
  • This initiative can substantially reduce farmers’ reliance on chemical fertilizers, saving them around ₹15,000 to ₹20,000 per annum (which they currently spend to buy fertilizers).

WAY FORWARD: The success of the proposed facilities and the sustainable use of existing facilities (within the city) depends on strategies that consider technology, environmental impact, social impact, past experiences, and community involvement.

Syllabus: Mains; GS III – Waste management and pollution