Red alert over green cover for Bengaluru: New study

Red alert over green cover for Bengaluru: New study


Vegetation cover has rapidly depleted in Bengaluru between 1973-2017, according to a new study.

Breackneck growth of residential apartments has shrunk open spaces and vegetation cover in Bengaluru South Region (BSR) — primarily dominated by residential, commercial complexes and IT companies — to an alarming 2.66% from a high of 55.17% in 1973, a new study has revealed.

In Peenya Industrial Estate (PIE), the decline in vegetation has been even more drastic. During the period 1973-2017, the share of vegetation dropped from 70.22% to 2.11%.

Here’s why: The built-up area rose sharply from 0.33 to a whopping 87.39% during the period in the PIE, which is one of the oldest and largest industrial areas in South-East Asia.

The Whitefield region (WF) fared no better as its vegetation cover declined from 61.54% to 15.01%. The region’s transformation as a technology hub was reflected in its perceptible rise in built-up area from only 1.6% to 81.61% by 2017.

The study “Micro level analyses of environmentally disastrous urbanization in Bangalore” was conducted by Dr T V Ramachandra, Indian Institute of Science; Jefferey Sellers, University of Southern California; and H A Bharath and Bharath Setturu, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. 

Whitefield, the study noted, has transformed from a small village with a retirement colony of Anglo-Indians in the 1980s to a polluted urban pocket within four decades.

“These regions (WF, PIE and BSR) highlight the extent of mismanagement of open spaces — vegetation cover, water bodies, etc. — in the city,” said the study published in Springer Nature journal.

Although ‘unplanned developmental activities’ in the three regions spurred the growth of direct-indirect employment and business opportunities, they degraded the biophysical environment, affected public health, polluted water bodies, caused biodiversity loss and led to drastic changes in the local climate.

Using modeling and visualisation, the study has warned that the built-up area in PIE could soon cover 92.12%. This would again be at the cost of the remaining open areas and vegetation.

The study has sought effective planning and restriction on further exploitation of other land-use features.

“There is an urgent need to mitigate the impacts through integrated planning strategies and policies,” it noted.

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