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BBMP ineffective in tackling garbage burning despite strict penalty orders, citizens testify: #BangaloreIsBurning
Earlier this month, Jhatkaa.org reached out to its members asking them to use a new online tool to hold their local officials accountable. This tool allows any Bangalorean to easily find and contact their ward commissioner, and ask them to take immediate action against open garbage burning. However, several members reported back saying that the BBMP has been ineffective in tackling this menace.
Jhatkaa.org started a Whatsapp group with committed volunteers from across Bangalore earlier this month. These volunteers received a copy of the penalty order, contact details of local officials, and talking points.
“Within days, we started receiving testimonials from people who tried to engage with their local officials,” says Divya, senior campaigner, Jhatkaa.org.
“Currently, we have over 40 people on the group, many of whom are taking proactive steps to end garbage burning in their neighborhoods. They’re making the effort to contact and follow-up with their ward officers and zonal commissioners. The actions of Jhatkaa volunteers have been heartening, but the response by local officials has been disappointing. We were happy to see that there were some very proactive people who really wanted to tackle the issue of open garbage burning in their neighbourhoods and were willing to put in the time and effort to go through the process and come back to us with their experiences,” she adds.
Here are some testimonies from Bangaloreans:
“Either their phone is switched off or they say it doesn't come under their jurisdiction and can't help me. Or they ask me to call someone else and that person doesn’t answer my calls. I have sent pictures and videos to pollution control board and local BBMP officials and to Mr. Sarfaraz Khan himself, but no action has been taken.” - Abhishek, Peenya
“their line is always busy” - Kanika, South Bangalore
However, not all testimonies have been negative. Frustrated, some Bangaloreans got creative and did this:
“There used to be regular garbage burning in an open area near my house in Banaswadi. The people in my colony contributed money and placed a board stating a fine for defaulters. Since then there is no burning.” - Anurag
“The people on the group are more than willing to engage with their local officials, but it looks like the penalty order has not been put into effect in the city as burning of waste continues in several areas. Sarfaraz Khan has been an ally in this battle against open garbage burning, issuing a penalty order late last year. We have a meeting with him on Wednesday where we will make sure we get a commitment from him to physically visit the affected areas with us and join citizens in demanding that ward officers regularly issue penalty orders wherever garbage is being burned to put an end to this menace.” says Divya.
Jhatkaa.org’s #BangaloreIsBurning campaign was launched in May last year in order to put a spotlight on the issue of open garbage burning and urge the BBMP to end this dangerous practice. The online petition can be found at https://jhatkaa.org/bangaloreisburning/.
Jhatkaa.org is a campaigning organisation committed to building grassroots citizen power across India in effective and innovative ways. Jhatkaa.org helps people take action collectively on issues that interest or affect them, and create change that would not be possible if they acted alone.
Jhatkaa.org also collaborates with civil society to engage citizens to hold corporate, cultural and government leaders accountable in real time at key decision moments through various digital communication platforms. Read more about Jhatkaa.org’s victories and press hits.
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