As the effects of climate change are being felt in the city, the future concerns of citizens have expanded to those about Land Cover – Land Use (LCLU), biodiversity, and health along with more common issues like air, water and waste, according to an environmental report card released by the Centre for Sustainable Development (CSD).
The third edition of the report is based on citizens’ perceptions of the quality of the environment in the city. While the citizens of Dasarahalli zone reported the highest level of satisfaction, the lowest was among those in Rajarajeshwarinagar and Mahadevapura zones.
A questionnaire-based survey was conducted across 1,842 households and 442 commercial establishments for primary data for the report card, while secondary data was collected through government, academic and research institutions. Citizens believed that there had been a change in LCLU in recent years. While the built up area has increased, corresponding green cover has reduced. Even though the number of BBMP parks has increased, the citizens are not satisfied with the way the parks are maintained by the civic body, said the report.
More than 95% of the respondents said that they were dissatisfied with the biodiversity of flora and fauna in the city. Those residing in slums and households both shared the same opinions. The report, quoting a study done by IISc, says that despite there being one tree for every seven people in the city, a clear discrepancy can be observed between the citizens’ perceptions of green cover and the data about trees.
Indicating a change in patterns, the report notes that there is one or the other kind of renewable energy used in most households. When compared with the data from the previous edition of the report card in 2012, the number of households which use solar water heaters has seen an increase. In Mahadevapura zone, the survey received no responses about the use of renewable energy.
Other than these parameters, the report card has also assessed air and water quality, noise, solid waste, soil, weather and climate, transportation and infrastructure and health. In the weather and climate section, two significant changes – rise in average temperature and increase in the frequency of rainy days – have been observed. While the concerns about pollution and traffic have gone up between 2012 and 2020, the concerns about quantity of water and lack of tree cover have reduced.
Vijay Mohan Raj, Principal Secretary, Ecology and Environment Department, who was present during the launch of the report, said that to tackle the issues of a city like Bengaluru, there should be an ecological flow. “We cannot apply an engineering solution for the environment. Nature cannot be tamed, but we have to correct ourselves.”