San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee is on a five-day visit to Bangalore to share and learn from India's tech capital. He has shared a vision with his counterpart, B.S.Sathyanarayana: Move towards zero-waste as they are doing in San Franciso, with a goal to reach there in 20 years.
"We are advanced in our waste management in that we have 80 percent of all the waste produced in the city of San Francisco is now recycled. When we started, everything was going into a black bin. So, we have come from zero to 80 percent in 10 years," he told Business Today. "Every house had to understand why we separate garbage, why we recycle. Why we keep blue bin for recycle, green bin for compost and black bin for everything else that cannot be recycled."
He, however, recognises Bangalore's challenges. "Bangalore has 10 times the population that we have in San Francisco. Their behaviours need to change, the systems need to adapt."
The Mayor says more and more people are moving into cities in India as they do in the US. "It will be up to us as Mayors and leaders of cities to work in private-public partnership with greatest companies and industries to promote solutions to the challenge of more people moving into our cities. If we don't do that, we will see aspects that we see all over the world. Waste will get out of control, and air pollution, water and sanitation problems will affect our health and businesses, and our cities will be less attractive to private investments."
Ask why San Francisco chose Bangalore, of all the cities in India, Lee says: "We chose Bangalore out of a very keen understanding of the education of its citizenship. Also to be very true, we like the climate here. It is very mild, and conducive and similar to the weather that we have in the bay area. Bangalore has a high level of education among its people. We have a similar goal to educate more people as well in the Bay area because we want to be a smarter city. And we chose Bangalore because we believe it is a smarter city."
Lee is leading a trade mission to Bangalore as part of the San Francisco-Bangalore Sister City Initiative , which helps the two cities complement each other by sharing technologies and solutions that private entrepreneurs have developed and deployed successfully to address specific challenges such as infrastructure, waste management, transportation, healthcare etc.
The team, comprising many investors from the Bay area, has signed 11 MoUs in Bangalore. Bangalore produces about 4,000 tonnes of waste every day.