Bangalore’s garbage problem stems from its two-decade transformation into India’s technology capital, so it seems appropriate that a new plan to clean up the mess is coming from an executive at one of the city’s technology companies.
Prashant Mehra has developed a cloud-based technology network, now being tested privately, that he hopes will make garbage disposal and recycling more efficient, provide better working conditions for people who collect and separate the garbage, and lead to city streets that don’t double as dumps.
“Bangalore generates about 6,000 tonnes of solid waste every day of which 15 percent to 20 percent is dry and recyclable,” said Prashant Mehra, who has the unusual designation of ‘Chief Architect of Social Inclusion’ at Mindtree, an information technology services company based in Bangalore and New Jersey.
This is the result of an expansion in the city’s population from 4.3 million people in 2001 to about 9.6 million people as of 2011, transforming a sleepy military pensioner’s city into a glass-walled hub of technology companies seeking skilled labour at lower prices than they could pay in other countries. With so many new arrivals from around India, the city found its infrastructure from roads to garbage collection overwhelmed.
In Bangalore, Mehra sees finding a way to separate dry waste — including paper, cardboard, glass, plastic and scrap metal — from the rest of the city’s trash as an important way to make the city cleaner and to make disposal more efficient, beginning with the moment when someone decides to throw something away.