Did E-commerce Players, Online Shoppers Trigger Bengaluru Floods?

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Bangalore floods

Civic body in Bengaluru blames e-commerce sites, malls and shoppers for recent floods.

Bangalore floods

We have heard of landslips, cloudbursts and other natural phenomena for triggering floods. Add to this man-made ones – e-commerce players, malls and online shoppers. According to Bengaluru’s civic body, the thermocol, bubble wraps and reels of wrapping plastic were responsible for the clogging of drains in many areas; this resulted in drain water overflowing into roads and houses.

It may sound strange, but the BBMP, the civic body, has a point and proof too. At crowded Sony Junction in upmarket Koramangala, civic body workers pulled out three truckloads of packaging material from storm water drain.

The civic body theory runs thus: people in the area, mostly highly paid IT professionals, buy products from e-commerce sites like Amazon, Flipcart etc. Even small electronic goods come packed in thermocol, bubble wraps and reams of plastic. Many in the area, hard-pressed for time, do not segregate these items and dump them near their house. Eventually all these materials end up in nearby drains. That’s how the drains get clogged.

Bangalore floods

The nearby malls in Koramangala too have been blamed. They too sometimes dump huge packing material outside and these find their way to the drains.

Wherever there are IT crowds staying, malls too spring up and these areas are also happy fishing ground for e-com sites.

It has been found that the maximum amount of packaging waste is generated in the tech-savvy areas such as Koramangala, JP Nagar  and HSR Layout. This is where most of the high-end malls are located and these are the areas where there is maximum e-commerce taking place.

Said K Siddegowda, Chief Engineer, Storm Water Drains, BBMP: “At Sony World Junction [Koramangala] alone, we lifted about three loads of thermocol on Monday. It weighed about 6 tonnes and took us several hours to clear. And this is the garbage that piles up every 10 days.”

thermocol

Thermocol and plastic wraps were pulled oud from pipes that connect the drain system.

Former BBMP Commissioner K Jairaj was quoted in the media as saying: “We have to preserve the physical integrity and shape of the storm water drain. People have the habit of accusing the BBMP. But they continue to dump non-recyclable and plastic waste into drains. The public should be vigilant in these matters.”

One way out is to segregate the waste, but the best way is to ask the e-com players to have a mechanism to take back the packing material once in a fortnight, said an environmentalist.

Even the toxic frothing of Bellandur lake is man-made. Huge apartment complexes dump waste into the lake, including detergents, resulting in foaming.

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Froth at Bellandur lake in Bengaluru

Experts had found out the cause of the frothing — discharge of sewage water containing household detergents. To stop it from frothing, the experts had suggested building a sewage treatment plant and stopping raw sewage from entering the lake. But the Bangalore Development Authority slept.

Monday night’s heavy rain had brought Bengaluru to its knees, inundating several localities, especially in the south. Now that the civic body has found the culprits, will some action follow? Or will Bengaluru have to go through cycles of flooding and misery?

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