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Date & Time
Location (for BIC Venue, BIC Hybrid and BIC Cafe)
Bengaluru, Karnataka 560 071 India View Map
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Solid waste management is the gordian knot of urban issues deeply embedded in the larger contexts of consumerism, informal livelihoods, urban ecology and the political economy of urban development. The question of managing urban waste involves legal, political, economic and social challenges spanning urban infrastructure, technical and human capacities, workers’ safety and welfare, cooperation with local government and citizens, planning, public health, climate change preparedness and sustainable development.
Vidhi’s documentary ‘Garbage Matters’ (20 min) highlights the mounting problem of disposal of municipal waste in Delhi, the implementation of Solid Waste Management Rules 2016, and various judicial interventions on the issue. While the film focuses on Delhi, the issues discussed have significant resonances with other Indian cities, particularly Bengaluru. The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is the municipal agency responsible for the collection and disposal of solid waste in Bengaluru. Earlier this year, the National Green Tribunal pulled up BBMP for its handling of waste in Bengaluru and flawed implementation of the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.
In addition to regulatory challenges, the workforce involved in various stages of solid waste management work under precarious and unsafe conditions. Bengaluru’s waste pickers and sanitation workforce are suffering from delayed wages and poor work conditions, even through COVID. Despite being hailed as the first line of defence against COVID, they are often forced to work without appropriate equipment, sanitation facilities to maintain personal hygiene and health, or offered necessary healthcare to ensure that they are not at the risk of contracting infection in the course of their work in the service of the city.
In this discussion followed by the screening of the film, Garbage Matters, we hope to engage with experts from different sectors of government, civil society and academia to unpack the challenges involved in managing solid waste, addressing concerns of workers’ and wider implications for urban public health, sustainable development and climate change preparedness.
About the Bengaluru Solutions Series
Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy and Citizen Matters in collaboration with the Bangalore International Centre have organised the ‘Bengaluru Solutions Series,’ an ongoing citizen engagement initiative to discuss pressing urban issues in the city. Each edition is dedicated to a theme, based on which a panel discussion with representatives from relevant stakeholder groups is organised. In the previous editions of the series, the themes have been preventing riots, regulating the gig economy, women’s safety in Bengaluru, equitable access to water, disappearing greenery and deteriorating air quality in the city. For the seventh edition of the series, the theme selected is solid waste management in the city.
Pinky Chandran is an independent researcher, author and a journalist. She is the founding member of the Solid Waste Management Roundtable (SWMRT), a collective of SWM practitioners working on decentralised & inclusive waste management since 2009, Bengaluru and a Trustee at Hasiru Dala, a social impact organisation that works with waste pickers and other waste workers to ensure a life of dignity, since2010. She has co-authored Valuing Urban Waste: The need for a comprehensive recycling policy Version 1 (2018), Hasiru Dala; , A Mirage: Assessment of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and SWM Rules 2016: Wastepickers Perspectives across India, supported by Alliance of Indian Waste Pickers and IGSSS ( 2019); “Communicating the Sustainable Development Goals-A Toolkit for Community Radio Stations”, developed by SMART and Supported by UNESCO and UNICEF ( 2020). Garbage inspires her to write poetry. In the past she co-founded Radio Active 90.4 MHz Bangalore’s first community radio station, in 2007 which attained an exemplary status of being the most inclusive community centered station in the country.
Rajyashree N Reddy
Dr. Rajyashree N Reddy is an Associate Professor, Department of Human Geography at the University of Toronto. Her research interests are geographies of waste and labour, urban political ecology, urban theory, global urbanism and South Asia. She has published on topics such as urbanisation, e-waste circuits in Global South cities and e-waste reforms in Bangalore. She is also the recipient of the SSHRC Insight Grant and Connaught New Researcher Award.
Sarfaraz Khan is currently serving as the Joint Commissioner, Solid Waste Management at the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). He has previously served in various capacities such as the Assistant and Deputy Director of Audit, Municipal Commissioner, Project Director for Urban Development Programme and Commissioner of Urban Development Authority among others. In his spare time, he enjoys travelling.
Bhargavi S Rao
Bhargavi S Rao works at the intersections of community action with law, policy, planning and governance. She has 25 years of experience across research, advocacy, campaign and teaching on a variety of human rights, governance and people-centred efforts in areas of environmental and social justice. She has worked with the Public Health Foundation of India, Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives, Environment Support Group (ESG), the Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology and the Indian Institute of Science.
She was Co-Director, International Honours Programme, (Boston University and SIT World Learning) & Minnesota Studies in International Development, University of Minnesota. She is also a faculty on many Study Abroad programmes from USA, UK & Europe & speaker at many universities abroad, local educational institutions and corporates. She is currently Deputy Director, Centre for Financial Accountability, Delhi and a Trustee of ESG.
Rajendran Prabhakar is a social activist working on social justice for urban-deprived slum communities. His work focuses on education and empowerment of children and women. He is the trustee of Maarga, a community NGO. He has previously worked with Child Rights and You (CRY). He has vast experience in grassroots people’s movements with clear inclination towards the most marginalized communities like SC, ST, OBC and minority communities.
Mansoor has 20 years of experience in waste collection, segregation, and management. He has been working in Jayanagar ward 168 for more than 8 years. He started with a small scrap shop which he used to run with his mother. He was introduced to Hasiru Dala in 2012, where he started attending monthly meetings. It was here he got introduced to other scrap dealers and NGOs. Through his newfound network, he received an opportunity to provide waste collection services to the Commissioner’s office in Shivajinagar. This increased both his brand visibility and his confidence. Mansoor attended the Scrap Dealer Training Program conducted by Hasiru Dala in early 2013 where he learned about business development strategies and work etiquette to manage relationships with both labourers and customers. He started working as an entrepreneur at ward 168 DWCCs in the same year. Initially, he struggled to meet ends but slowly things started to pick up for him. He piloted Donate dry waste program and started educating citizens and schools about waste segregation and the benefits of recycling.
In 2015, Mansoor got the opportunity to attend the climate change conference in Paris. He shared his views in seven different events that were held across the 9 days he was there. Mansoor spoke about the importance of the 3 R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. He has also worked as a Radio Jockey (RJ) at 90.4 FM (a community radio station) and talks about ways to reduce and how to segregate wet and sanitary waste from dry waste. He also gives training classes and lectures on the different kinds of waste and their segregation. Mansoor has been a community leader and continues to inspire us with his hard work and dedication.
Satarupa Sen Bhattacharya
Satarupa Sen Bhattacharya has over 16 years of editorial and content experience across a variety of genres and formats. Apart from overall editorial oversight and participation in key editorial policy-making at Citizen Matters, she ideates, edits and occasionally writes stories for the National edition of the magazine. She is also presently the editor of the Chennai chapter. She holds a Master’s degree in Economics from Calcutta University, and keenly follows social and development initiatives across cities in India.
Debadityo is a Senior Resident Fellow at Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy and is leading projects related to the implementation of key environmental legislations and judgments. His research interest lies at the intersection of ecology, law and policy. He graduated with B.Sc. (Hons) in Zoology from the University of Delhi in 2009 and completed M.Sc. (Tech.) Environmental Science & Technology from Banaras Hindu University in 2012. He has also undertaken training on Tropical Forest Restoration from Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in 2016.
He has over 9 years of professional experience in issues related to environment and wildlife protection. In the past, he has worked with organizations such as Vikram A. Sarabhai Community Science Centre, Legal Initiative for Forest & Environment, WWF-India, Wildlife Trust of India and several other grassroots organizations. He is founder and trustee of Vindhyan Ecology and Natural History Foundation (since 2012). He is a recipient of the Sanctuary Wildlife Service Award’ (2019) and is a member of the IUCN-Species Survival Commission’s Bear Specialist Group and EKOenergy network, Helsinki. Debadityo has also initiated litigations in the National Green Tribunal on issues related to environmental clearance, declaration of eco-sensitive zones and compensation for environmental damage