Courting the green

World Earth Day

Courting the green

With another World Earth Day falling today, the need to conserve the city’s depleting green cover is only reiterated.

The theme this year is environmental and climate literacy. The many campaigns that one sees in Bengaluru, in an effort to protect and preserve the green cover, is proof that people still care and want to do their bit to conserve the environment.

Efforts are being undertaken by many small groups to clean the city by painting its walls so that people don’t dump garbage there and deface them. From planting saplings and tapping solar energy to saving water and electricity and using compost to grow plants, Bengalureans, especially youngsters, are leading the way towards a greener city.

Environmentalists feel that awareness and education about conserving green spaces must begin from school. Dr T V Ramachandra, faculty, Energy and Wetlands Research Group, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, feels that a sense of belonging and sincerity among the next generation is the only hope to save Bengaluru from the clutches of land and water mafia. “The first step is to plant more trees. Preservation and regular maintenance of trees must be assigned to the respective schools in each ward so that children will understand the importance of trees while protecting the same. School and college students should be made tree in charge in each ward,” says Ramachandra.

“Also important is spreading awareness among the environmentally illiterate section of the society. Environmental literacy, as per our study, is only 3.5 percent, which means only a small fraction of our population understands the need for water conservation and minimising wastages,” he adds.

He also says that in addition to planting trees, water wastage can be reduced by plugging leakages, installing rainwater harvesting units and ensuring recharge pits.
Fast disappearing green spaces, water shortage and the increasing pollution levels are just some of the problems prevalent in the city. In an effort to save water and electricity, people like Prathibha Naveen, a resident of Kalyan Nagar, has installed solar panels in her house.

“We get hot water for bathing and kitchen use from the solar panel. There’s a switch that connects the water heater to the solar panel during the monsoon.

This helps heat the water and ensures minimum use of electricity,” says Prathibha.
There are a lot of youngsters who have joined several groups that work towards a cleaner city. Pavithra Chalam, a student, says that she tries to practise some of the things that she learns at the environment club in her college.

“The first thing that I have done in my neighbourhood is to place two separate bins for wet and dry waste. We have also staged a street play to draw people’s attention towards the importance of garbage segregation,” states Pavithra.

“My friends and I have also painted the walls where people throw garbage, hoping that clean walls would prevent them from defacing them,” she adds.

Taking the green route is also Arun Kumar, a resident of Rajarajeshwari Nagar, who plans to distribute flowering shrubs to people in his neighbourhood. “Not everybody is happy with planting trees in our neighbourhood because they feel it will block the entrances to their homes. So I had suggested that we keep flowering plants and transform the Fifth Stage of Rajarajeshwari Nagar into a flowering street,” says Arun.

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