Nandi wouldn’t want to roam in these Hills

Visitors leave behind tonnes of liquor bottles and single-use plastic waste. Think about it next time you visit Namma Bengaluru‘s favourite picnic spot

It is no secret that Bengalureans love Nandi hills, but what we would have preferred to keep a secret is that each time we visit, we leave something for the spot to remember us by — loads of trash.

Statistics show that 28 tonnes of trash is generated in Nandi hills annually. The trash includes 6,023 kg of pet bottles, 7,300 kg of glass bottles (liquor), 18,207 kg of low grade plastic and paper, 1,874 kg of cartons and 408 kg of metal cans.

N Gopal, special officer at Nandi hills, told Bangalore Mirror that cleaning activities are taken up under public-private partnership. While an organisation picks up plastic and other waste under its corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds, the horticulture department clears leaf litter and other trash which comes to five tonnes a year. These leaves are used for compost. Every weekend, close to 10,000 people (mostly from Bengaluru) visit the hill station while close to two million people flock to the hill station in a year.

Over the years, visitors too have observed trash strewn all around. This is a concern for environmentalists as Nandi and the nearby hill ranges are birth places for close to five rivers, including Arkavathi, which joins Cauvery at Sangama near Mekedatu.

Sources said that trash is usually found at Nandi fort, Gandhi Bhavan, origin of Arkavathi and Amrit Sarovar. The cost of the picking up trash comes to Rs 13 lakh a year while another Rs 90,000 is paid to the vendors to transport the trash for recycling. Arogya Raj, project officer of United Way of Bengaluru, said that the project has been taken up with help from CSR funding from Mercedes Benz. He said that more than six rag pickers have been stationed there to pick up trash.



The increase in trash has reduced the population of pollinators by 70 per cent, which is affecting produce in the nearby agricultural fields, said renowned environmentalist AN Yellappa Reddy. “The trash is also blocking the primary, secondary and tertiary water streams. It also increases pathogens. In the last two years, more than 50 truckloads of trash have been cleared and one truck was full of condoms. Mahatma Gandhi had visited Nandi hills twice as he had liked the biodiversity of the area so much but many are ruining it,” said Reddy. He suggested that the state government declare it as a heritage site.

The cyclists who frequent Nandi are also upset. Sathya Sankaran, Bicycle Mayor of Bengaluru, who often pedals to Nandi said one way to reach out would be with awareness campaigns. Many cyclists too take up plog runs in the hills to clean it up, but it is just not enough. For Ramakrishna Ganesh, founder of India plog run, Nandi hills is a favourite destination. Ganesh said he had conducted several plog runs here and the recent one was during Covid, when he collected close to one tonne of trash from the road side and two tonnes in the nearby hills. “We found that those, who could not enter Nandi due to restrictions, had visited the hills nearby and littered those spots too,” he said.



Mukund K, a regular to Nandi hills, said people do not understand the importance of the hill. Vinay R, a medico, has a suggestion. “Harsh measures should be enforced including collection of refundable deposits from travellers who carry plastic. As the Nandi ecosystem is fragile, it is everyone’s responsibility to keep it clean,” he said.

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Sagar Biswas

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