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.

People of North Chennai have been vocal about the adverse effects of pollution that taints the air, land and water in their area. They are often seen staging protests against projects that may have a negative bearing on the lives and livelihoods of the people and the environment. Several studies have reiterated that major industries operating in the Ennore-Manali region, including the state-owned thermal power plant, contribute to the rising pollution in North Chennai. It is the residents who bear the brunt of this toxic onslaught — as they breathe poisonous air every day and use water that is highly…

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Researchers at Paani.Earth have documented firsthand evidence exposing the inadequate wastewater treatment in five Bengaluru sewage treatment plants (STPs). This untreated water is making its way to drought-prone areas in Kolar and Chikkaballapura.  In part one of this series, we will examine the KC Valley Project, its acclaimed wastewater management methods, and evaluate its actual effectiveness in comparison to Paani.Earth's research.  The Koramangala Challaghatta (KC) Valley project was launched by the Karnataka government in 2018. It was meant to treat 440 million litres of sewage water from Bengaluru’s five STPs, everyday, to recharge ground water in the drought-prone areas of…

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Chennai's lakes, once the lifeblood of the city, have been disappearing because of decades of neglect, encroachment and pollution. Worried about the state of these shrinking water bodies, many dedicated citizens and organisations have made efforts to revive them. From restoration projects to community-led initiatives, Chennai's journey in lake revival is ongoing, with some successful efforts and some riddled with challenges.  Chennai's lake restoration initiatives In response to the 2015 floods, the city initiated many lake restoration projects to mitigate urban flooding and enhance the holding capacity of the city's large lakes.   The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) and…

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Every season brings its own positives and challenges for Aapli Mumbai. Monsoon is over and we are now grappling with the onset of winter and air pollution. Whatever the season and its challenges, it is important to look at the systemic issues and keep the focus on solutions. Only the collective will and efforts of the people and the administration can make the city more liveable. With that thought, Citizen Matters had organised an Essay Competition – Mumbai Monsoon Masterminds, calling for opinions from residents of Mumbai to share their experiences about monsoons and offer unique solutions. In the following…

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“Mumbai’s air feels like inhaling smoke like a passive smoker, you don’t want to but you don’t really have a choice,” says Reena D’mello a resident from Malad. Despite her love for jogging, she has refrained from pursuing it for the past two years due to the rising air pollution caused by the construction projects in her neighbourhood. She fears that venturing outside and breathing in the heavily polluted air during her workouts could jeopardise her health. “I prefer exercising at home now,” she says.  Delhi typically gets the attention for its hazardous air pollution levels. However, Mumbai, despite its…

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When discussing solar panels and the energy they produce, often the question whether it's genuinely environmentally friendly pops up. Many discussions revolve around what happens to solar panels when they're no longer in use. How will they be disposed of? Will they be recycled? Do we have the resources to recycle them? If not, does this energy source remain as green as we thought? Due to the lifespan of solar panels (25 to 30 years) and the failure to design for re-use or recycling at initial stage, India will begin to see large volumes of solar panels reaching the disposal…

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Chennai is known for its brutal weather and amazing food. But with the consistent surge in heat, our everyday lives feel like we live in a microwave. We often read and hear a lot about climate change, but only truly recognize its impact when we step outside. We find ourselves exhausted and irritated while having to wait at traffic signals, while crossing the road, and while waiting for public transport. It's during these moments that the reality of our changing environment hits us The moment we are away from the bustling city we often sense a drop in temperature. This…

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In the midst of 2022, the phones of Navi Mumbai Environmental Preservation Society (NMEPS) membersbuzzed incessantly as they received alarming news. A serene plot of land, home to sprawling mangroves, faced a perilous future. The announcement in July 2022 by CIDCO, the local development body, revealed plans to auction a 6.2 acres of land neighbouring a vast expanse of mangroves. However, this was no ordinary piece of land. It was a vital habitat for thousands of flamingos, a cornerstone of the local ecosystem, and a site of paramount ecological importance. NMEPS had previously organised extensive clean-up efforts in collaboration with…

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According to the World Bank, an additional 68 to 135 million people could be pushed into poverty by 2030 due to the climate crisis and associated risks, disproportionately impacting the poorest countries and most vulnerable communities. As one navigates the challenges of climate change and its varying degrees of impact across different economic layers of a population, it becomes critical that a collaborative effort towards climate-resilient urban development involves the participation of vulnerable communities. For instance, Bengaluru has witnessed a significant rainfall deficit and a sweltering couple of months this year, and as per the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Bengaluru…

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India is working hard to find cleaner ways to produce energy. In response to the escalating daily surge in carbon emissions and the shift from conventional thermal energy generation to environmentally sustainable and green energy sources, various renewable energy projects, including wind energy, solar energy, tidal power, hydroelectricity, and more are in the works. One notable addition to this green energy portfolio is the concept of green hydrogen. This technology is poised to attract substantial investments worth millions of rupees, all over the country in the not-so-distant future. It holds the potential to assume an important role in meeting the…

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