The reputation of Bangalore as a “Garden City” may have become a thing of the past as a study by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) indicate that the sobriquet is a misnomer.
The tree population in the City has come down drastically, says the study conducted by Energy and Wetland Research Centre (EWRC) of the Centre for Ecological Sciences (CES), the IISc with the help of the KSPCB. The study was initiated to know the vegetation status of the City and plan for the future.
The study taken up in the BBMP limits reveals that the total number of trees in the City are 14,78,412 and the vegetation is 17 trees per every 100 people. While the City’s population increased from 65.37 lakh in 2001 to 95.88 lakh in 2011 (46.68 per cent growth) and the population density increased from 10,732 persons per sq km in 2001 to 13,392 in 2011, the vegetation has come down by 66 per cent and the water bodies by 74 percent.
There are less than 10 trees in some densely populated wards. “The analysis, based on the fusion of remote sensing datas and field visits, has found that the spatial extent is less than one hectare in wards like Chickpet, Shivajinagar, Kempapura Agrahara and Padarayanapura. Wards like Varthur, Bellandur and Agaram have vegetation cover of over 300 hectares and over 40,000 trees,” says the report available with Deccan Herald.
Padarayanapura, the smallest ward in the City with 34.3 hectare area (ha) has a population of 67, 623, but the number of trees are 26 and only 0.2 ha of vegetation area. This place has “0.0 trees per person” the report says.
Kempapura Agrahara comes next in this. With a population of 63,853, it has 62 trees and 0.6 ha is earmarked for vegetation. The tree per person here is 0.001. The busy Shivajinagar area, with a population of 66,280, has 0.7 ha of vegetation area and the number of trees there is 70 and trees per person is 0.001.
The biggest ward, Varthur, with an extent of 2723.1 ha has a population of 30,340 and, interestingly, has 72,069 trees and 488.1 ha of vegetation. The trees per person is 2.368, followed by Bellandur with 2655.1 ha of vegetation. With a population of 25,614, it has 388.2 ha vegetation and 2.123 trees per person.
The report warned that reduced vegetation will have serious implications for the City’s environmental and ecological health, and stresses the importance of maintaining 33 per cent green cover in the region.