Far from Copenhagen, Bangalore's 'green warriors' do their bit

Far from Copenhagen, Bangalore's 'green warriors' do their bit

Governments across the world are hoping to agree on a far-reaching new treaty at the Copenhagen climate summit that would curb greenhouse-gas emissions worldwide and slow global warming. Activists in Bangalore, once a city of gardens, are hoping for the best but say citizens should also do their bit.

Vipul Kasera, the man behind the city's first major car pool campaign feels, "The Copenhagen summit should come up with a comprehensive climate policy, feasible for both developed and developing countries."

Kasera started CommuteEasy three years back to spur Bangaloreans to start car pooling and help reduce greenhouses gases on the otherwise heavily crowded roads of Bangalore.

"The main idea behind starting CommuteEasy is to encourage people to share their cars among fellow travellers on roads. This will not only help ease the traffic congestion problem in Bangalore's roads, but is sure to contribute in reducing greenhouses gases like carbondioxide, one of the main air pollutants," said Kasera .

CommuteEasy currently has over 9,000 active members, a minuscule number compared to the city's nearly eight million population with more than three million vehicles.

Aruna Katiyar, member of RideACycle Foundation, a non-profit organisation campaigning to promote humble cycle in the city, said the international summit was the last chance for world leaders to save the environment.

The RideACycle Foundation promotes sustainable transport, responsible travel and environmentally and socially responsible bicycling opportunities in Bangalore. It has around 200 members.

"Our main aim is to create awareness among the city's denizens about the virtues of using cycles as a mode of transport. We want to make cycles a popular mode of transport that would help address global warming and pollution," said Katiyar.

Chiddalinga Prasad, one of the founder members of Eco Club, said, "World leaders should not miss the chance to come up with a proper climate policy at Copenhagen. Otherwise it will be too late."

In order to keep intact the green heritage of Bangalore, which of late has come under the axe of developmental work, Eco Club has started a unique campaign to inspire Bangaloreans to plant trees.

The programme christened "I Own a Tree", started by Eco Club, allows a person to sponsor and own a tree for two years. So far 300 Bangaloreans and a few corporate houses, including Nokia, have come together to plant around 4,000 trees in various parts of the city - such as Bangalore University (BU) Jnanabharati campus, Bannerghata Road, and the Kanakpura area. The plantation drive was started six months ago.

The programme allows a person to sponsor and own a tree for two years by paying Rs.365. "We're planning to plant around 100,000 trees in Bangalore every year," said, Chiddalinga Prasad, one of the founder members of Eco Club .

"Small measures like planting a sapling, riding a cycle and saying no to plastic can go a long way in saving the environment. It's the duty of every citizen of the earth to save the environment from further degradation," said noted environmentalist and filmmaker Suresh Heblikar.

"I make it a point not to waste paper unnecessarily and make less use of electricity as far as possible in my day-to-day activity. Everyday I carry a jute bag to buy vegetables, instead of asking for plastic bags from the shopkeeper," said  Rita Kumar, a homemaker.