Garden City. Silicon Valley. Bangalore city has many
identities. Even as we grapple with its growth (it is the fastest growing city
in Asia), we wonder, what its future will be. On the occasion of World
, along with the environmentalists,
takes a peek into the future of the city —20 years from now.
Water is the elixir of life. We all know it. But what will
Bangalore's water situation be like 20 years from now?
On World Environment Day you
can make a pledge to protect and preserve your environment. Here is a list of
pledges you can make:
1. I will switch off my
television, rather than leave it on stand-by. Over the year, this reduced use
of electricity will save about 30 kg of carbon dioxide being released into
the atmosphere, which is equivalent to the amount absorbed by 10 trees.
2. I will plant one tree.
Over the next 100 years, this could absorb around 300 kg of carbon dioxide
from the atmosphere.
3. I will replace each one
mile car journey per week by walking, cycling or taking a bus. Over one year,
this will prevent around 27 kg of carbon dioxide being released into the
atmosphere — and possibly more, depending on how big the car engine is. This
is the same amount as that absorbed from the atmosphere by nine trees.
4. I will start re-using
plastic bags when shopping. If I throw out four bags less a week, this will
prevent 208 plastic bags ending up in a landfill site.
5. I will turn the tap off
while brushing my teeth. If I brush my teeth for four minutes a day, this
will save about 28 litres of water a day and around 10,000 litres in one
"We are on the brink of disaster," says V Srinivas
Raju, managing trustee, Navachetana trust. "The reason is that we are
depending only on one source for water. Also, we are disbanding the lakes, the
water tanks including Thippegondanahalli — we are looking at drawing water from
Cauvery, 100 km away. This can cater to only 20 per cent of the
requirements." Unlike other cities in India, Bangalore is located at an
elevation of nearly 980 m, and is away from any major rivers. "Depending
on only one source has been the curse of every city." Of the 262 lakes,
there are only 81 now. They were linked through surface and underground links,
so they never dried up. But with roads and layouts, the links have been lost
and the lakes are drying up. Suresh Heblikar, environmentalist, says, "We
are paying heavily for it now — it's not easy to create water."
If we continue with the path we are on now,
coupled with the growth of Bangalore and the resulting demands, we will only
Need of the hour:
Experts reiterate the need to
rejuvenate Bangalore's lakes. Saving water through rain water harvesting and
using available water in the right manner.
Bangalore was known for its salubrious climate and clean
air. However things are different now. According to Yellappa Reddy,
environmentalist: "I don't think air pollution is going to come down in
this city." He says there are many issues that needs to be tackled to
provide the city with cleaner air. "Adulterated fuel used by vehicles does
not help. The roads are in a bad state and each time brakes have to be
applied, unburnt hydrocarbons are released. We can see the effects of all this
today. Nitric oxides exceed the danger level. Terrestrial ozone is a dangerous
health hazard. Headaches, burning eyes are due to this. With rampant
construction all over the city, cement and sand particles enter the air.
Individually the emission from industry may not be much but cumulatively it may
Twenty years from now, respiratory diseases
are going to multiply and children will be worst affected.
Need of the hour:
If we don't plant more trees, we
are in for big trouble.
Two nationalised banks in
Bangalore are doing their bit for the environment:
Want not, waste not
Most corporate offices
remain indifferent to the large amounts of waste they generate says Wilma Rodrigues
of Sahas, but State Bank of India proved to be an exception. In St Mark's
road they have created a compost pit for organic waste generated from the
canteen and offices. "The senior management immediately sanctioned the
waste management programme proposed by Sahas, in collaboration with Dr Balasubrahmanyam
of SHOW," says SBI's B Raghunath. Wilma says, "The compost is
useful for landscaping. It's a win-win situation."
Power from the sun
Canara Bank has been
granting loans for the purchase of rooftop solar water heaters and lighting
systems at low interest rates. "We also offer ‘energy audits' to
companies who approach us," says P Mohanan, DGM, Canara Bank,
"After all, a unit of energy saved is equal to two units used."
When Bangalore decided to shift its focus from being the
Garden City to IT City, it may have gained worldwide recognition but experts
say that it is also moving towards severe environmental crisis. Large tracts of
farmlands and forest areas have been acquired by the government for the city's
expansion. Trees are being felled at a drastic rate, and without a thought to
future repercussions. The BDA is also clearing the sites of all trees.
"They could sell the sites with the trees, leaving the option to the
owners," says Leo Saldanha, co-ordinator, Environment Support Group,
"This could save thousands of trees, as the BDA is acquiring thousands of
acres." Vast quantities of land between Electronic City and Whitefield is
being acquired for the IT corridor, which will severely damage the greenery of
Bangalore. This includes the vitally important wetland stretches including Bellandur.
Here, farmlands and public lands will be levelled to build offices, residences
and golf courses. Around Banerghatta, land including the green belt and the
Bangalore-Mysore Corridor Project will cut through the state's wildlife
corridor. "What happened with the Borivilli National Park where the park
came into city limits, will happen here," says Saldanha, "The future
of wildlife, in this scenario, is bleak."
Finally, the Arkavathy which provides a third of Bangalore's
water supply, will be affected by the proposed Arkavathy Layout in the
vicinity. "When public agencies plan such large scale land acquisition and
tree-felling, it's difficult to stop private agencies from following
Massive urbanisation, loss of greenery and
wildlife and a severe water shortage owing to major climatic changes from
indiscriminate tree felling.
Need of the hour:
"Greenery and water go
together. Keeping Karnataka's landforms intact is essential," says Saldanha.