Top 5 eco issues affecting Bangalore
Bangalore is witnessing an alarming depletion of wetland areas and vegetation cover. There is an increase of 1 to 1.5 degree in temperature due to intense urbanization. Here are some of the eco issues that could cripple Bangalore.
Bangalore is among the most successful cities in India and the developing world. Its population growth has been dramatic and it has generated vast amounts of wealth and prosperity. Bangalore’s economic success reflects the ability of cities to connect smart people who then work together and learn from one another. But however the development path adopted by Bangalore is neither sustainable nor equitable. And it's leading to widespread degradation of environment. On the tip of the iceberg of environmental issues facing Bangalore today are impacts of climate change, water pollution and rapid unplanned urbanization. These are some of the pressing challenges that Bangalore is facing and that will hamper its rush for growth.
Bangalore generates 2500 tonnes of solid waste every day, and this waste is often disposed off in a very unscientific manner. And this worsens the situation in the polluted garden city. Once upon a time, walkers in the famous Cubbon Park and Lal Bagh used to enjoy the fresh air during their walks. Today, a majority of them are forced to wear pollution masks during their morning and evening walks. Rapid industrialization and a surge in the number of vehicles have made Bangalore explode into metropolitan nightmare.
Due to the unscientific disposal of waste, pollution levels have risen to unprecedented levels in Bangalore. Experts point out that apart from the industrial and vehicular pollution, the waste disposal management by hospitals too is in a pitiable condition. The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board has found that several industries and hospitals do not have a proper solid waste management system.
Statistics show that the ambient air quality in Bangalore is deteriorating rapidly. The amount of nitrogen oxides in the air is 34 micrograms per meter cubed of air, which is quite high. The amount of suspended particulate matter is 200 microns per meter cubed of air, also high. There are also 44 microns of Sulphur Dioxide per meter cubed of air, another high statistic. Every year the numbers seem to go higher and higher and the average person inhales more and more impurities.
In his study, Urban Vehicular Pollution Control-Focus Bangalore, environmental engineer Ameer Ahmed lists out some of the most polluted spots in the city where suspended particulate matter (SPM) is high. These include areas around Victoria and Bowring and Lady Curzon hospitals, Jayadeva Institute of Cardiology and roads close to Bishop Cotton Girls' School. Tumkur Road, Mysore Road and K.R. Market also recorded high SPM levels. It is a question of reducing pollutants emitted from different types of vehicle engines and of trapping the pollutants. Using cleaner grades of conventional fuel such as petrol and diesel, burning them efficiently and neutralizing the pollutants before they are released are all part of the Bharat II emission norms already followed by automobile manufacturers.
With a population of 5,686,000, Bangalore is India's fifth largest city. As per the estimates of the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), the total demand of water is 840 million litres per day (MLD). Bangalore is prominent among the World’s fastest growing cities. Due to unorganized and un-scientific growth over the last few years drinking water problem has crossed danger limits.
Bangalore gets water from three main sources. Major source among them is Kaveri River. Everyday around 810 MLD kaveri water is channeled to Bangalore. This journey of water over 120 Km, costs nearly 500 crore rupees per year for electricity alone. The other two sources for water are T.G.Halli Tank and Underground Water Resource. Around 120 MLD from T.G.Halli and 50 MLD from underground water resource is used up by Bangalore everyday. Of later however, T.G.Halli water has considerably reduced and the chances of complete drying up of resource are foreseen. According to a study conducted by the Centre for Symbiosis of Technology, Environment and Management (STEM), a Bangalore-based research group, the demand supply gap is met by groundwater exploitation. It is estimated that 40 per cent of the population of Bangalore is dependent on groundwater.
Loss of Green Cover
Bangalore could soon become concrete city. Bangalore has lost around 50,000 trees in recent years to infrastructure development and nearly 300 more will soon go for the Metro rail project. Environmentalists and citizens fear that rampant felling could cost the city its 'green heritage' tag. Their fear is supported by heaps of logs of axed trees and tree stumps dotting roads across Bangalore.
As many as 279 more trees will soon be axed down for 'Namma Metro' - the upcoming metro rail in central Bangalore, especially near the legislative assembly building Vidhana Soudha and Central College roads. In the past two to three years alone, Bangalore has lost around 50,000 trees, felled for developmental activities, states a report of the Environment Support Group (ESG). Also, not only has the city's green beauty been destroyed due to developmental works, but the loss of green cover is also harming the Karnataka capital's climate. Bangalore’s weather is changing fast and is no more pleasant as it was earlier. If trees continue to be chopped off rapidly, the city's average temperature will rise by two-three degrees Celsius in the coming years.
Many of the lakes in the city have 'disappeared' along with their water-spreads due to the rapid and unbridled urbanization here, a study said. The study, published by city-based Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC), paints a grim scenario with further worsening of the water-bodies if the State government fails to get its act together.
The report also points out that there has been an increase in flooding. Reclamation of lakes for various developmental activities has resulted in the loss of inter-connectivity in Bangalore district, leading to higher instances of floods even during normal rainfall. Many lakes were encroached for illegal buildings (54%). Field surveys (during July-August 2007) show that nearly 66% of lakes are sewage fed, 14% surrounded by slums and 72% showed loss of catchment area. Lake catchments were used as dumping yards for either municipal solid waste or building debris.