Environment

Extensive coverage of urban environmental issues and the climate crisis as experienced in our cities through a combination of reports, analyses, interviews and commentaries. Focus areas include waste management, air and water pollution, protection of open spaces and water bodies, and the overall impact of climate change on urban communities. The articles explore solutions from a policy as well as citizen engagement angle.

Three years ago, when Dharmesh Barai moved to his new residence in Nerul, Navi Mumbai, he received a interesting tip from a friend. The friend informed him about a mangrove stretch, near Flamingo Point, in Seawood, Navi Mumbai, renowned for its annual congregation of migratory birds. Intrigued by the recommendation, Dharmesh, who held a deep affection for mangroves, decided to explore the place. But what he encountered left him dismayed. The once-pristine mangroves were entangled with knee-deep garbage, choking the delicate ecosystem. As a passionate nature lover, Dharmesh couldn't bear to see such destruction. He knew that the city’s civic…

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In March this year, we reported on how the small, but loved neighbourhood lake, Venkateshpura in Chokkanahalli, in the upcoming Arkavathy Layout, was allegedly notified as a Civic Amenity (CA) site. It was divided between a private trust and BWSSB. Three months on, the lake has now reduced physically as well. Here is an update on the lake and a look at how quickly landscapes can change in Bengaluru. A lake loses its edge In three months, the classic peri-urban idyll of the Chokkanahalli village has disappeared. The path leading to the lake, which was dotted with grazing land, now…

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Just ahead of World Water Day on March 22nd this year, a report released by the United Nations showed that the bottled mineral water industry in India had grown by 27% between 2018 and 2021, the second fastest growth recorded globally. The signs are all  around us - discarded bottles everywhere, wherever you go. But have you considered that with every gulp you take from a plastic bottle, you could actually be introducing microplastic particles into your body?  In 2018, a study reported that eleven globally sourced brands of bottled water, purchased in nine different countries including India, were tested…

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In May, Juhu resident Delia Lobo Alva found that many trees in her neighbourhood were getting painted, in a short span of one weekend. But not with the usual white limestone and geru, the natural bug repellants as was the policy decision adopted by the garden department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) earlier. Instead, trees were coloured with bright, garish oil paints that would not come off and would affect the health of the trees. “I was shocked to see about 11 trees painted on the entire stretch. We considered the oil paint off the bark using turpentine but…

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Citizens and lake enthusiasts have reported more incidents of fishkill this year than in 2022. There have been reports of 11 fishkill within six months of 2023. While 16 fishkill incidents were published in the media from January to December in 2022, a whopping 11 incidents were reported on July 7th. This has led to concerns over the quality of water of Bengaluru's lakes. Fishkill in Bengaluru gets reported due to the efforts of aware citizens, who bring up the issue on social media. Many citizens also take it up with the concerned officers of BBMP's Lake Department. Sl. No. DateLake108-02-2023Kothanur…

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Very often, when we speak about the pollution caused by the industries in North Chennai, we tend to limit it as a 'North Chennai' problem. Is it really so? Does it have no impact on the other parts of Chennai? Several reports including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report and Greater Chennai Corporation's Chennai Climate Action Plan point out that Chennai will experience extreme impact due to climate change. Meanwhile, development projects like ports, Thermal Tower Plants, and other industries that create a huge impact on land, water and air are being planned and proposed in addition to…

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If you are heading towards Perungudi, chances are you can feel a stark difference in the odour in the air. The unwelcome scent of pungent air is all thanks to the Perungudi dump yard. "But people residing in Perungudi are used to the smell," says P Sajeevan, a resident of the area. Air, water and land are being polluted due to the presence of the dump yard. The Greater Chennai Corporation has been dumping waste in the 200-acre dump yard in Perungudi for around three to four decades. Of the total 5200 MT of waste generated in Chennai, 2400 MT…

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Home to several prominent hospitals, malls, office complexes, restaurants and residential areas, Parel is a busy, bustling ward in central Mumbai. With more public spaces, the responsibility of waste management and effective ways to manage it rests largely with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). And the civic body has done well. Parel, or the F/S Ward of Mumbai, has the best performance in solid waste management, according to recently released report on civic issues by Praja Foundation. The report goes into the details and statistics of solid waste management (SWM), sewage treatment, and pollution among other civic issues. The report…

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I have been living, eating, breathing, and sleeping plastics. And I am not saying this, as a campaigner or as an anti plastic advocate, or because I have been following the discussions of the #GlobalPlasticTreaty. I am saying this literally. “We all are”. The latest pointer to the all pervasiveness of plastic pollution being the discovery of  microplastics in human blood. There have been other studies that have shown plastic ingestion by fish and other marine mammals, by insects and birds, apart from studies that plastic is in our water and food.   So, how much more proof do we need? Do…

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In a bid to increase the green cover in Chennai, the Greater Chennai Corporation started setting up Miyawaki forests in different parts of the city in 2020. It has been three years since these green spaces cropped up. As per the last Annual Forest Report in 2021, Chennai has 7.24% of forest cover out of its total geographical area. The report also notes that the forest cover has increased by 26% from 2011 to 2021 in Chennai. What is a Miyawaki forest? It is a Japanese method of creating a forest by planting native trees close to each other to…

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