BANGALORE – Almitra Patel, a civil engineer by qualification, says she was first alerted to India’s huge problem of inadequate waste disposal when she noticed that the frogs in the marshlands near her farmhouse, on the city’s outskirts, had stopped croaking. Seeing that the frogs had died from sewage and garbage being dumped in the wetlands, she petitioned the Supreme Court in 1996 to intervene and get the city fathers to take responsibility for safe waste handling.
Investigations showed that less than half of the sewage produced by this global information technology hub was being managed in modern treatment plants, with the rest ending up as raw, untreated sewage in the city’s lakes and wetlands.
Patel won her suit to make the safe disposal of waste a municipal responsibility, but management of solid waste and sewage remains a national problem.
“The marshlands (around Bangalore) have now turned into a deep, black stinking river of sewage that flows in an open channel through dense habitation to an expensive power-guzzling treatment plant,” Patel told IPS.