With door collection of garbage, will litter bins dot Mangaluru landscape?

By John B Monteiro

Mangaluru, Aug 10: With the ascendency and popularity email and couriers, the letter boxes dotting the streets of Mangaluru are rusting, dysfunctional and getting extinct. Will litter boxes now dot the Mangaluru landscape not only on streets but lanes and narrow footpaths of the city? Yes, if door-to-door collection of garbage has to have comprehensive coverage and reach every household – whether living in independent dwellings or in apartments. Before coming to this aspect a background on garbage collection scene in the city is relevant.

The pivot of Mangaluru garbage collection was ( and still is) the garbage bin placed on the roadside, about 300 metres apart, in which households were to empty their garbage, brought in the domestic garbage bucket. Since the garbage bins, large poor quality concrete rings, were not cleared in time by garbage clearance contractors in their lorries, or foraged by cattle, dogs and cats (and even by humans looking for recyclable contents like paper, plastic and PET bottles and for food by urchins and beggars) the surroundings of garbage bins were strewn with garbage, often stinking to high heaven. With the result, those who came later often practiced ringing the volleyball net, by throwing the garbage from a distance hoping that it will make it within the ring of the garbage bin. More often than not it did not, adding to unsightly garbage and unbearable stench around the garbage bin.

Such garbage bins and unmarked garbage dumps became the part of the street architecture in Mangaluru. They became the landmarks and guide posts for novice visitors to city areas. A typical answer to the stranger asking for direction to XYZ spot is: "Go straight on this street for 100 metres and turn right at the garbage dump, go another 100 metres and turn left at the garbage dump. Then you will see an open garbage dump and two buildings beyond that, on the right, is what you are looking for".

The scenario should have changed with the door-to-door collection started earlier in 2015 under a contract between MCC and a Mumbai-based contractor – Antony. The contractor has innovative equipment and dedicated collection staff. But, door–to–door presupposes many conditions – the most important of which is that the collection vehicle should be able to reach the door or gate of the residents. This is possible when the city is well–planned and marked by well laid out roads and cross roads. Mangaluru, except in the recently developed layouts, has evolved from a glorified pete (mini-town) into an unplanned city. So many houses have no road access at their door.

Such people are expected to take their garbage to the collecting vehicle parked on a road access. But, there is no pre-determined time schedule for the vehicle to reach a given area and residents cannot afford to wait for it to come at its sweet, erratic time. Though I have road access at my gate or even the collection vehicle can come and turn around in my compound, I would rather have the garbage vehicle halt at the nearby street junction (200m from my cottage) and deliver my house garbage neatly packed and tied in a patented garbage bag (Goldstar Kleen Kountry dustbin bag with tie tapes. They come in two sizes – the medium size, 48X 54cm, priced Rs 63 foe 30 pieces) these can be tucked into the Kitchen garbage bin and, when to be taken out, neatly packed and tied with the attached tape without messing the domestic bin.

So, one would think that the whole matter is simple and it is only a matter of delivery. Since the contractor’s collection vehicle has no fixed timing, one would think that the matter is over when the garbage bag is placed at the collection point. That is where things go haywire. The stray dogs, cats and crows attack the plastic bags, rip them open and apart from eating the contents, spill them all around making the place messy – specially if there is raw, stinky fish residues like of prawns.

This is where a new solution needs to be found. This is to have an impregnable container, to be mounted near the collection point with bolting arrangement that is beyond attack by dogs, cats and crows. I got one fabricated with steel sheets and got it fixed to the compound wall near the collection point. The plastic garbage bag, mentioned above, is to be placed in it, closer to the expected visit of the collection vehicle, and bolted. It should preferably have "breathing" space, with the steel sheets having fine holes – except the top cover with bolt to prevent water seepage during rains. It may need periodic painting in-situ – say once a year – to prevent rusting. After installing I found that the top flat cover collects water blobs and may promote rusting. So, the top cover should be slightly convex.
Readers should be warned that many fabricators may not be keen to take up the job for one unit as it does not work out profit-wise. I located a small fabricator at Yeyyadi who had earlier son a bird-bath for my garden. Balakrishna (98458 04859) was sporting enough to do the work for me because of the novelty of application.

That is why such boxes fabricated out of industrial plastics are ideal and can come in aesthetic colours. Such plastic boxes are extensively used in homes and offices for waste paper disposal and can be standardised and mass-produced for outdoor use.

At this juncture, an interesting and relevant question. Whose compound wall is it? Compound wall mark the separation of two properties. Who owns them? When we go to fix the garbage boxes on the compound wall, litigious as we are, there would be conflict over fixing boxes on the compound walls. For this reason, it should be the function of MCC to handle such matters as it is now collecting hefty sums as garbage tax while collecting property taxes. Now many high-rise housing society buildings have mini letter boxes, earmarked for each flat, on the ground floor level. It is possible for such societies to fix litter boxes described above on the street-facing outer compound walls.

There is one more angle. Most gates in the city have "Do not park in front of the gate" notice boards with corporate advertisements. Such corporates can get into fixing garbage storage and protection boxes, preferably mass-produced plastic containers with aesthetic colours, not only as part of publicity for them but also as part of their corporate social responsibility requirement. Will they do it?


Comment on this article

  • Santosh R Kerkera, Mangalore

    Mon, Aug 10 2015

    Nice Article on Garbage with good suggestions. Single boxes are suitable for independent houses and chances of getting stolen. Secondly difficult get free wall to mount the box. Best thing to have covered shed (like covered Bus stands open all sides) with two rows of boxes like Bank lockers at existing dump area. Each row should have 4 boxes vertically and 4 to 6 boxes horizontally. Each row can have 16 to 20 boxes with holes for stench to go out. Each row can be placed back touching each other. Most of the road corners can be used for depositing (not dumping) garbage bags in colour ful sheds. Each boxes should have a chain and bolt for easy closing. Each box has number & allotted to houses.

    DisAgree Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ashwin, Shetty

    Mon, Aug 10 2015

    I have seen so many garbage boxes in Mangalore which is not cleared for ages. This is pathetic. Garbage collectors come to door step to collect the garbage daily but he charges 30rs monthly. Yes, 30 rs is less. I agree, but it need not be the same for all. This is not a paid service. We pay so much of tax, this can be taken taken care in that money. we clean(non 30rs payers) or surroundings go and dump in the concrete rings placed far away and dont even bother to look back and see what happens later. Lot of dogs pull off the bags rip off plastics and make the whole place mess. The garbage box should be designed such a way that dog does not get access to the things dumped inside. I really feel bad Mangalore is not in the Top 5 cleanest city according to the survey. I always thought Mangalore is the cleanest city.. Perhaps! garbage thrown out carelessly is the reason for mark down. Let us all be responsible foe this and correct us and educate people who don't follow cleanliness. Mera Mangalore Mahaan!

    DisAgree [1] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Neville Fernandez, Mangalore/Antigua

    Mon, Aug 10 2015

    Good analysis of potential solutions and problems. You use Goldstar Kleen Kountry dustbin bag with tie tapes. How many people throw garbage in overflowing, open plastic bags? While the state has its responsibilities, the citizenry has their responsibilities too, like not playing basketball with the concrete garbage bins.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Suresh, Mangalore

    Mon, Aug 10 2015

    ABCD returns!

    DisAgree Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Santhosh, kadri/Bahrain

    Mon, Aug 10 2015

    Never Ever till lobo is there in M'lore for party time or ribbon cutting for enjoying the party time then only it will be clear has i know b'fore lobo done nothing only publicity

    DisAgree [48] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Christopher DCunha, M'lore/AUH

    Mon, Aug 10 2015

    Santhosh, kadri/Bahrain....not able to understand your English....whats the issue here? The garbage or Mr. Lobo?

    DisAgree [4] Agree [38] Reply Report Abuse

  • DEEPAK , Mangluru

    Mon, Aug 10 2015

    Santhosh....... DUKHITHOSH hojaye hai.

    Kachre ke upar ithna pyar of J R lobo ke upper bharain mein bait ke gussa?

    Akhir kyon bhai..... Kyon?


    DisAgree [6] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Af,, Mangaluru

    Mon, Aug 10 2015

    Lobo doest need any publicity,
    his work it self shows, not like your waste MP,
    talking from Bahrain easy,come to your own kadri and see the change.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [24] Reply Report Abuse


    Mon, Aug 10 2015


    DisAgree Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • sid, mangalore

    Mon, Aug 10 2015

    inspite of the municipality providing door to door collection people preffer to throw garbage on the road , Mangalore may be number 11 as per Indian standards but we need to go a long way , peoples attitude needs to change and will change

    DisAgree Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • Christopher DCunha, M'lore/AUH

    Mon, Aug 10 2015

    Garbage with Bio degradable plastic bags should be collected at a fixed time everyday thus avoiding the pest, animals and smell at the entrance of each house in the city as well as Grama Panchayath areas/rural areas.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [23] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Mon, Aug 10 2015

    Mangaluru leads
    Duffers follow ...

    DisAgree [11] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • santhosh, Mangaluru

    Mon, Aug 10 2015

    Should be other way round

    DisAgree [16] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Mon, Aug 10 2015

    Santosh, are you from Mongolia ...

    DisAgree [4] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • santhosh, Mangaluru

    Mon, Aug 10 2015

    No, from Mumbai, no ..sorry from Mapusa..

    DisAgree [14] Agree [6] Report Abuse


Title : With door collection of garbage, will litter bins dot Mangaluru landscape?


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