'Afforestation immediate action point' - Bangalore - Cities - The Times of India
Afforestation immediate action point'
5 Jun 2009, 0438 hrs IST, TNN
BANGALORE: To solve the water crisis in the city, the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) suggests massive afforestation programmes and complete removal of encroachments. Availability of drinking water in the city is likely to be hit in the coming years.
"Karnataka and Tamil Nadu should create a fund for afforestation. The genesis of deforestation started in 1854, when British authorities felled teak for the Royal Navy. Today, the plantations have eaten into virgin forest areas. If things don't change, Bangalore will have to rely on wastewater recycling and other means," said C Nanjundaiah, associate professor with ISEC. For the report, he had drafted a paper on water.
Bangalore urban draws a whopping 20,7000 million litre per acre (mla). "While the total BBMP area is 1 lakh and 97,684 acre, we are drawing 1,03,333 mla. The water recharge in this area is only 71,000 mla," he said.
"River Vrishabhavathi is filled with pollutants at levels higher than permissible limits. The quality assessment of 77% of water samples collected from different parts of the river is unsatisfactory for consumption. Also, the rising `unaccounted for water supply' has risen from 16% in 1991 to 48% now. This may be the starting point of all water woes in Bangalore," he explained.
The report also covers environment-related sectors like industries, air pollution, energy, health and forests. The studies showed high levels of suspended particulate matter (SPM) at Graphite India and around Victoria Hospital. The acceptable level of SPM is 70 micrograms per mcube, but it is 500 micron grams per mcube at both locations.
At many areas, respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) showed 200 micrograms per mcube when the accepted level is 50 micrograms per mcube. The main cause of pollution is automobile emission. ISEC has recommended the use of CNG on a priority basis.
"Afforestation within the city is also an immediate action point to balance the microclimate and rising temperature," the report said.
Other recommendations submitted to the government to deal with water crisis are the new groundwater use and monitoring Bill, increase in water tariff as per income slabs and addition of treated water into reservoirs. There is a potential of harvesting 20 to 50 MLD water and reusing 172 to 220 MLD