Environment

“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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[In part three of this series, Citizen Matters spoke to urban hydrologists and researchers, Rashmi Kulranjan and Shashank Palur, about how Bengaluru can reduce dependence on external water sources, like Cauvery, and become water resilient.] In this interview, the researchers say that the first step towards achieving the goal of resilience is to understand water usage by building a water balance for the city. About the researchers Rashmi and Shashank work at the Urban Water Programme at WELL Labs, where they study water flow patterns in urban water systems, especially lakes in Bengaluru. Rashmi is also a PhD scholar at…

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As I write this, we have entered a wet and 'thunderstormy' October, but please forgive me dear reader if the weather is bright and sunny when you read this. As we found in our analysis of rainfall patterns in the city, rainfall is becoming unpredictable in Bengaluru. As early as February 2023, government authorities were celebrating full groundwater aquifers in Bengaluru. However, a few months later, as we head towards a potential monsoon deficit, the city’s groundwater levels have dipped. We turn desperately towards the Cauvery Reservoir, which is also dangerously low and sought after by farmers in Karnataka and…

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The release of the BBMP Street Dog Census 2023 on October 4th has generated significant attention in the media, primarily focusing on the survey methodology and the decrease in street dog numbers. However, beyond the headlines, the survey has implications for citizens and animal lovers. Census results The census shows a 10% drop in the street dog population from 3.1 lakh in 2019 to 2.9 lakh. While this number is adequate, and the reduction quite a relief, it could be much better with a more aggressive, effective and compassionate ABC (Animal Birth Control) programme. It is quite heartening to know…

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As the 10-day Ganpati festival got over with much fanfare, we delve into its environmental impact and explore some of our stories related to the festival - city's preparations for the festival, the push for eco-friendly Ganpati celebrations, and snapshots from this year's festival, capturing the emotional farewells by devotees. According to civic officials from Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), over 39,000 idols of Lord Ganesh were immersed in various water bodies on the last day, and more than 2,05,722 idols were immersed across Mumbai over ten days. The Ganpati festival is commonly linked to significant environmental consequences. The idols are…

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