When Bangalore grew up

Adit Ganguly talks about Bangalore and his concern is clear. This study-hating, photography-enthusiast, football lover, tells a good story of city that’s changed. For better or worse, you decide.

‘Generally cloudy sky. Rain and thundershowers expected.’ Is it just me or have we been seeing this much too often in the third page of The Times of India? Well, the promised thundershowers haven’t exactly occurred, have they?

Every Drop Counts

‘Bangalore is THE place to live’, people used to say. I, in my 14 years in this city, have come to agree with this notion. Bangalore used to provide us the perfect opportunities to show off our taste in sweaters and jackets with cold mornings and pleasant afternoons.

But sadly, not anymore. These days, even at the 7am breakfast table, the fan is a must. In the last 10 years Bangalore temperatures have gone up by 1.5 per cent. If it continues at this rate, in another few decades the temperature will match that of Kanpur and Bihar.

The transition from the Garden City to the Garbage City hasn’t helped matters either. The refusal of the farmers in the out-skirts of Bangalore to make use of land-fills has led to garbage stagnating on street corners for days. Then, out of desperation, people are resorting to burning the garbage thereby releasing toxic smoke into the once pure Bangalore air.

Smokers don’t help the environment either

The arrival of the Metro has certainly eased traffic woes on MG Road, but at what cost? The number of trees that have been cut to achieve this reduction in traffic is abysmal. The reduction in the number of trees has led to an increase in carbon di-oxide levels in the city. Excessive consumption of fossil fuels like petrol and diesel has resulted in carbon emission of 390 ppm (parts per million) in the last two to three years.

The chaos and pollution at a ‘Namma Metro’ construction site

Bangalore has been struggling in terms of rain this year. We experienced the fourth driest June in 112 years receiving only 7.2mm of rain as compared to the 57.7mm of rain in June 2011. That’s a 92% deficit. The 7.2mm of rain came dangerously close to the 4.5mm received in June 1945.

According to Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), 50 per cent of the borewells in the City have dried up due to the lean monsoon. Of course, this did lead to the shortage of electricity too and ‘load-shedding’ has hit a new high. Power cuts for hours on end have hit the IT Industry and Industrial Sector.

My mother, who has been in Bangalore since 1983 has witnessed this change in progress and she, who was once full of praise for every aspect of Bangalore, has now started to worry about what the effects of this drastic change will be.

I wouldn’t say that the Government and the People have done nothing about this drastic change, but something more long-term has to be done. The introduction of rainwater-harvesting in every household is a huge step that has been taken. This should help to increase the level of underground water and ease water woes.

The recent move of making garbage-segregation compulsory is brilliant but, it hasn’t exactly worked out due to bad planning. In some neighbourhoods, officials have refused to pay for the maintenance and the diesel of the vehicle the garbage is collected in because they see no profit in it for themselves. In other neighbourhoods, some citizens have refused to segregate garbage and with the fines not being imposed strictly, they are getting away with it.

In my neighbourhood, most people have pots of money. The fines of Rs. 100 per day are practically nothing for them. They would rather pay the fines than segregate the garbage.

Planting of trees is an on-going campaign. Most people are doing their best, but a better solution will have to be worked out.

As I sit and write this article, the fan above me is running at high speed even though it is the middle of October. This should be an indication as to how badly Bangalore has been hit with climate change.

Bangalore at it’s former glory

I, as a Bangalorean, want to see Bangalore return to its former glory of beautiful gardens, gorgeous weather and clean streets. The days of eating steaming hot masala dosas early in the morning while snuggling warmly in a jacket against the cold may be gone for now. But, I’m sure that with some concentrated effort, the good old days will return.

Learn more about Adit Ganguly.

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About Shruti Bharath

Social entrepreneur and developmental writer, passionate about creating workable solutions in the areas of improving employability of youth and women through skill enhancement/training and generation of productive and sustainable employment opportunities.

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