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Seeking change and reform towards sustainable solid waste management through good policies and building ownership of it, so it can be acted upon.


Policy making is beyond media campaigning, high profile legal challenges, or the street-based activism of petitions, posters, and demonstrations. The profile of SWMRT policy advocacy has always demonstrated strength and relied more on an evidence based approach, amplified with information campaigns rather than lobbying and activism.

Our strength has been evidence informed or evidence influenced as opposed to opinion based policy advocacy, where action research, pilot studies and in depth multidisciplinary case studies feeds into the decision making process. The persuasive nature of policy advocacy work which takes years to create the fundamental shift. It is reflected in our work which has been relentless and focussed for more than a decade.

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The fundamental focus areas of policy work is aligned to our ideologies of sustainable solid waste management

  • ​Mandate segregation at source and door-to-door collection. 

  • Mandate destination-based waste collection and transportation.   

  • Promote inclusion of the informal sector for recycling.   

  • Promote measures for localised processing to minimise landfilling/dumping.   

  • Promote conversion of waste into compost / biogas and not waste-to-burn technologies.  

  • Phase out non-recyclable products and packaging, and move towards the circular economy using the just transition principles.


2015: Normative standards through Time and motion study & Contract design 
2016: MOEFFC Plastic ban notification , providing alternatives, stakeholder focus group discussions for use of alternatives

2013 -2016: Ward micro plan  
2017: BBMP SWM Information Manual Part 1 & 2
2017: Key concepts and design in the introduction of dedicated door to door dry waste collection


Ongoing legal advocacy, in the early days through Lok Adalat and subsequently through the High Court of Karnataka has been an important game changer in influencing policy. 

Jan 2010

Technical Advisor
SWMRT presented a road map to the Lok Adalat based on case studies on decentralized SWM and where taken on as a technical advisor.

Jan 2012

2000 waste pickers got ID cards
The Alliance of Waste-pickers filled an affidavit for recognition of waste-pickers which led the Lok Adalat to issue the landmark directive to the BBMP - the registration and enumeration of waste-pickers and scrap dealers. Following the directive, the BBMP Commissioner issued an official order hailed as the first step towards formal recognition of their role. The BBMP also attained the unique distinction of being the country’s first urban local body to initiate this process.
SWMRT has played a role in pushing the recognition of the waste workers and the inclusion of them in the formal SWM system.

Jul 2012

Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed in High Court (HC) of Karnataka
WP no. 24739-40/2012 between Ms. Kavita Shankar (sister of Myriam Shankar) and the State of Karnataka and others. The PIL declare that the ‘Right to Life’ under Article 21 of the Constitution of India includes the ‘Right to Life’ of the future generation also and therefore it is incumbent on the Respondents State to protect the natural environment and safe guard the same for not only the present generation but also for the future generation of the City of Bangalore.
SWMRT is core supporter to the petitioner with regards to research, technical knowledge and solutions to frame relevant submissions to the High Court.

Sep 2012

Segregation at source is mandatory
Karnataka High Court orders:

  • Every citizen has the fundamental duty to segregate at source. Thus, it is mandatory for every household to segregate into wet-dry-reject, and hazardous waste so that the BBMP can collect the segregated waste.

  • The Municipal Authority to issue a circular to citizens that segregation at source is mandatory.

  • The executive Magistrates are invested with powers to impost fines on households, which are failing to segregate garbage into dry and wet garbage.

With this order BBMP for the first time recognized different waste streams, and that collection must be done separately.

Sep 2012

Dry Waste Collections Centers
High Court orders Municipal Authorities to identify suitable land for establishing Dry Waste Collection Centers (DWCC).
Waste pickers are given ID cards and ensured the right to the dry waste.

Nov 2012

Decentralised Waste Management
It is agreed by all parties that merely receiving the MSW is not enough. Steps must be taken in earnest so that Waste Management Units are set up at the earliest.

Dec 2012

Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR)
High Court orders that plastic management is the responsibility of the Municipal Authority according to The Plastic Waste Management and Handling Rules 2011. They are responsible for setting up, operationalization and co-ordination of the waste management system and for performing the associated functions.
The High Court orders the Municipal Authority 

  • to seek the assistance of manufacturers of plastic carry bags, multi-layered plastic pouches or sachets or of brand owners using such products

  • to work out the modalities of a mechanism based on Extended Producers responsibility involving such manufacturers and brand owners either individually or collectively, as feasible or set up such collection systems through its own agencies

  • to encourage the use of plastic waste by adopting suitable technology such as road construction, co incineration etc

Jan 2013

Ward Committees
The HC orders the Municipal Authority to set up Ward Committees and thereby directs that it is the duty of the Ward Committee to ensure proper SWM and sanitation works in the ward.

Mar 2013

Waste Streams Destination
It is recognised that waste streams needs a destination and HC orders the Municipal Authority to allot land and take appropriate steps to ensure that proper handling is being done.
Wet waste processing plants are being set up and Dry Waste Collections Centres are after this being built in each ward

Apr 2013

Definition of Bulk Generators (BG)
It is brought to the attention of the HC that the main culprits are commercial establishments, choultries and also massive residential complexes where there is indiscriminate mixing of these plastics with the wet waste. They are the Bulk Generators in the city.  HC orders

  • they should be treated as separate class by the BBMP

  • they are responsible for handling their waste in-situ

Apr 2013

Tenders should be specified
HC orders:

  • That tenders should be specified in order to ensure segregation at source, proper separate collection and handling of the waste.

  • A contractor cannot have more than 5 tenders packages at a time. This is to prevent Cartel formation

Dec 2015

HC gives comprehensive orders on duties of waste generators and collection of solid waste

  • The system 2bin1bag, made by the SWMRT in 2014, shall be mandatory for citizens and bulk generators alike

  • Every day the waste shall be handed over to waste collectors shall adopt. Thus, ensuring segregation at source and sustainable decentralized waste management

  • The BBMP shall carry out awareness activities for citizens

Jun 2016

Home composting
HC directs the citizens of Bangalore to adopt composting processes in their house and BBMP to educate the citizens accordingly.

Oct 2017

The Micro Plans
HC directed the Municipal Authority at ward level to prepare micro plans and action plans for to ensure proper decentralized SWM and sanitization. BBMP are to prepare booklets.

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