Friday, November 7, 2008

Drawing up a green plan-Bangalore-Cities-The Times of India

Drawing up a green plan-Bangalore-Cities-The Times of India
Water scarcity has become a major hurdle for builders seeking clearance from the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) for
new projects. Many developers, unable to meet the requirement due to declining ground water levels, do not get clearance from the board.

KSPCB chairman H C Sharat Chandra said the board looks at two major environment-related concerns while giving approval for construction projects: water supply and waste-water management. Many clearances are not given due to these issues, he said, at a workshop on ‘Environmental Issues in Construction Sector’, organized by the KSPCB and Enzen Global Solutions on Wednesday.

He held declining ground water levels responsible for the problems faced by builders in meeting water requirements for new sites.

Chandra said new layouts don't have a system in place to drain out waste water
. The BBMP's solid waste management practices haven't kept pace with the realty boom in the city, he said. With the number of apartments rising steadily, he suggested that private participation could be explored to meet the solid waste management demands of the city.

Asked about initiatives to convert waste to power, Chandra pointed to the failure of similar projects initiated in Hyderabad and Vijayawada.

While acknowledging the importance of the building sector in providing employment and contributing to the GDP, Chandra said construction activities are being pursued without paying much attention to environmental concerns. This is putting pressure on the limited natural resources, besides having an impact on health.

KSPCB chief environmental officer N Simha explained the concerns that need to be addressed for projects to get approval. These include post-project compliance, post-project monitoring, environment management cost and prosecution. With regard to location, the KSPCB looks into sites' proximity to water bodies and zoning regulations.

Professor S Shiva Kumar, senior consultant, Enzen Global Solutions, said to mitigate the impact on the environment, the builder community should set time-bound targets. This includes aiming to stem the increase in greenhouse gas emissions
and reversing it over the next ten years. As buildings place huge demands on energy and materials that produce greenhouse gases, doing this would help counter increase in temperature due to global warming.

Construction activities contribute to 30% of baseline carbon dioxide emissions, said Uma Rajarathnam, head of environment practice at Enzen Global Solutions. This can be easily and cost-effectively reduced, she said.

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