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‘Grasslands provide ecological benefits’

With the onset of the rigorous ‘development’, a lot of green spaces in Bengaluru are under risk
Last Updated : 03 September 2022, 06:59 IST
Last Updated : 03 September 2022, 06:59 IST
Last Updated : 03 September 2022, 06:59 IST
Last Updated : 03 September 2022, 06:59 IST

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Namma Bengaluru, the garden city, has been embellished with several gardens, parks and lakes that provide a pleasant climate to the city dwellers. But with the onset of the rigorous ‘development’, a lot of these green spaces are at risk. The latest in line is the Hesaraghatta grasslands which is a part of the 5,000-acre green land parcel on the outskirts of the city.

What do Bengalureans think about the need to preserve the green heritage of the city, and Hesaraghatta in particular? DH spoke to a cross-section of them to find out.

Praveen Bhargav, the trustee of Wildlife First and former member of the National Board for Wildlife, highlights the importance of grasslands. “Natural grasslands are one of the most neglected and vulnerable ecosystems. Some of the most threatened species of wildlife are found in various grassland habitats of the state.”

He explains why rising above partisan politics is important to mitigate climate change. “The state is grappling with floods and landslides due to climate change. The chief minister must rise above petty political considerations and take a visionary decision to protect the Hesaraghatta grasslands.”

“Grasslands provide ecosystem benefits such as climate control, water regulation, flood mitigation, biodiversity conservation, and recreation amongst other things. The state Wildlife Board’s earlier decision of not protecting these grasslands will adversely impact this ecosystem and its inhabitants. Also, Hesaraghatta is Bengaluru’s last remaining grassland, which must be saved at all costs,” says co-founder of Conservation India Ramki Sreenivasan.

Savinaya Malve, a project scientist with Environmental Management and Policy Research Institute (EMPRI), says grasses are a very important part of the environment. "Researchers say that a third of the carbon in the land is held by the grass ecosystem. It helps in rainwater absorption by acting like a sponge and helps percolate rainwater into the ground," he explains.

Vikas S, a resident of Vijayanagar, says it is pointless to chase developmental goals while ignoring environmental issues. “There would be no purpose in building new IT parks and expanding our concrete jungle when one fine day we do not have clean air to breathe and water to drink. It is time for the government and citizens to recalibrate their compass and view environmental issues much more seriously,” he says.

Vikas also expresses concern over the dwindling number of lakes and water bodies. “The damage done is close to impossible to reverse, but there’s still time to change our direction and to pressurise our policymakers to make the right choice. As long as environmental issues are not major election issues, it is hard to bring about change,” remarks Vikas.

“Bengaluru’s green heritage provides recreational spaces to better our physical and mental health while reducing the heat during the summer. The greenery must be conserved to protect the rich urban wildlife,” says Sahana Subramanian, a resident of JP Nagar.

She notes that Bengaluru’s long history and rich culture have been tied to many spaces of greenery. “Bengaluru’s green heritage should be protected as commons. Alongside conservation efforts, it is important to ensure that everyone has equitable access to green spaces in the city,” she adds.

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Published 03 September 2022, 05:53 IST

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