This Bengaluru neighborhood bags global award for ‘waste to biogas’ initiative

Fri, 2019-05-17 10:58 -- SCC India Staff


Solid waste management is the biggest challenge faced in metropolitan cities. The simplest solution to this problem is waste segregation at households. With Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) having made it compulsory to segregate waste at source and pourakarmikas refusing to lift mixed waste in several pockets of the city, many localities are witnessing proliferation of black spots.

However, the Koramangala Resident Welfare Association (Koramangala RWA) decided not to let the garbage crisis aggravate and took the lead in getting its members to segregate the waste they produce. It’s now being used to generate biogas, which is meeting energy needs of a local enterprise.

With its segregation initiative having turned out to be effective and worthy of replication by residents of other localities, the Koramangala RWA has landed the coveted ‘Better Together Award’, which will be presented in Berlin.

Koramangala RWA president Padmashree Balaram said though residents were happy with the initiative being successful, they rued it had little bearing on how dry waste was being disposed of.

In 2016, a group of like-minded people belonging to different blocks of Koramangala joined hands to brainstorm the waste crisis in their localities. Through a friend, they were able to connect to Carbon Masters, an international carbon management consultancy that seeks to help people reduce carbon emissions in their personal and professional spheres.

Balaram said they learnt how a biogas plant would not only be an answer to the garbage they generate but also provide fuel at cheaper cost. “Koramangala produces nearly 90 tonnes of waste, including from restaurants and homes. We needed a bigger plant,” Balaram added.

While the residents were not convinced by the idea initially, fearing it may only raise a stink, they changed their mind on visiting a biogas plant in Iskcon temple. “If it weren’t for BTM Layout MLA Ramalinga Reddy and Iskcon, this wouldn’t have been possible. He and his daughter Sowmya Reddy, who’s the Jayanagar MLA now, accepted our idea and helped us,” said Neeraja Shetty, a Koramangala resident.

The endeavour soon fructified into Carbonlites, a biogas station. The plant, a collaborative venture of the Kormangala RWA, BBMP and Carbon Masters, processes two to three tonnes of wet waste produced in the area and generates biogas, which is enough to run a nearby eatery.