Bangalore Environment Trust Newsletter, January
Sat, 03/03/2007 - 09:14 — admin
Rally Bangalore 2000!!
Pedalling for a clean, green and safe millennium
"Imagine a Bangalore that's clean
Safe and green all year 'round
No more potholes to be seen
Or, dirty litter surround
Imagine such a world in 2000
Created by you and me ... We could ..
(With sincere apologies to John Lennon and the Beatles!)
On the penultimate Sunday of the last millennium (December 19.
1999). about 3000 students representing 43 educational
institutions in the city enthusiastically pedalled their bicycles
on the roads of Bangalore for a clean, green and safe future. The
Rally was organised by Swabhimana, a citywide forum of all those
concerned and interested in the well being of the city and the
Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation
(KUIDFC) to promote civic sense amongst the residents of the city.
And what better way to do this than tapping on to the children and
their wonderful riding machines - the pollution free bicycles! The
Rally was flagged off by the Governor of Karnataka, V.S. Rama Devi,
other chief dignitaries included Mr. B.K. Chandrasekhar, Minister
for Information and Publicity, Mr. Lukose Velathurai, Labour
Commissioner and. Mr. Ashok Dalawai, Joint Commissioner, Bangalore
The school children also took an oath at the flagging off
ceremony to keep the streets and public places of the city litter
free: to adhere to the traffic rules and, to reduce vehicular
emission. Each child also pledged to get five copies of the oath
statement signed by parents and neighbours. Swabhimana plans to
carry forward the positive tidings from this endeavour by
organising a series of programmes like city wise zonal events with
the people who have signed up the pledge, conducting 'tree
censuses' in different areas with the help of school children
A certificate of participation and a sapling were handed over to
each institution which participated in the rally. Given the
excellent response the event evoked and the upbeat enthusiasm of
the children, this advocacy intervention seems to have hit the
For further information and to know more about Swabhimana.
Coordinator - Swabhimana. Office of the
Bangalore Mahanagara Palike. II Floor Annexe,
N. R. Square.
Bangalore 560 002.
Assisting Government to Enforce Existing
During a discussion at the BET Trustees meeting, it was felt that
with our growing population Government would find it increasingly
difficult to enforce the laws in existence, and one of the prime
duties of NGO's like the BET would be to think of ways of
assisting the authorities in their task.
As a first step it was decided to find out what were the laws in
existence and what steps were necessary to ensure that they were
implemented. Justice Bopanna, a Trustee of BET, managed to prepare
an overview of the ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION LAWS, and this document
of 27 pages gives a good idea of the legislation in force. Here is
a brief summary of tile publication,
Water (Prevention-and Control of Pollution Act 1974)
The Act was passed for prevention and control of water pollution
and for restoring the wholesomeness of water. Boards were
established to enforce the Act. This was India's first attempt to
deal extensively with an environmental issue. The main task was to
establish standards for effluents from factories and Municipal
sewage, and the Pollution Control Boards are empowered to take
such action as is necessary.
One can imagine what a difficult task this is with hundreds of
factories, trade establishments, restaurants, slaughter houses and
others introducing poisons on the land and water. Effluent
treatment is expensive and few factories are prepared to undergo
the expense of installing the required equipment. Several NGOs
had filed public interest litigations in the Courts, but it would
be far better if there is public pressure on all establishments
Government as well as private, to observe environmental norms. In
this regard one might remember that school children in England,
with water pollution measuring kits have played an important part
in environmental improvement. And Anil Agarwal of the Centre for
Enviroment and Science, has played a phenomenal role in forcing
Paper Mills and Automobile Companies to observe environmental
norms by publicizing the profiles of erring establishments, and
complimenting those who have internalized pollution control costs
rather than placing the burden on the public at large. This is
what BET should be doing in Bangalore.
Air (Prevention and Control of pollution Act 1981)
The interesting aspect of this Act is that noise pollution is
covered by this legislation. The Boards dealing with the Water Act
will deal with this problem also. BET has from its inception
attempted to educate the public about the dangers of noise above
specified decibel levels. Pamphlets were produced on the subject
and newspaper articles were written. Representations were made to
the police regarding excessive noise from temples and mosques
through the use of loudspeakers. Citizens were informed about the
names and designations of police personnel who could be contacted
in case loudspeakers were in use after specified hours. There is
need for much greater liaison with the police and also with
Companies which set up loudspeaker systems. Many of them are
unaware about the rules, which are in force.
Environment Protection Act 1986.
The Environment includes everything including ourselves, and the
Act refers to water, air and land and human beings, other living
creatures, plants, micro-organisms and property. This Act is
directed mainly against physical or chemical damage to the natural
environment. As an instance it refers to the importance of
protecting lakes and marshes because fresh water has already
become a resource whose scarcity has alarmed the world at large.
And yet its protection has not moved us into serious action. In
Bangalore, wetlands continue to be reclaimed for other uses, and
sewage continues to flow into Ulsoor Lake and Hebbal, two of the
most important water bodies of our city. The value of open spaces
for their ecological functions as well as for recreation is not
given high priority by the planners, and the old idea persists
that open space is wasted space. This attitude must be reversed,
for the majority of people living in crowded areas value nothing
more than to escape into open areas whenever they get an
opportunity to do so.
The greatest damage to the environment has been done by synthetic
chemicals, the long lasting non-biodegradable ones. and this Act
has provided for heavy penalties - imprisonment up to 5 years, and
fines extending to 1 lakh. This is not an easy act to enforce, for
damage to the environment is often slow and unseen. But it is
often irreversible, and it is only a vigilant well informed public
which can succeed in arresting the damage. The Supreme Court has
passed orders that children in classes ranging from 1 to 10 should
be educated about the natural environment. This is where NGO's
should step in by offering to assist government.
Motor Vehicles Act 1988 and Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989
Apart from specifying limits on exhaust fumes. rules have also
been made to prevent the use of harsh, shrill, loud or alarming
noise. lnspite of this, air horns and multi toned horns are in
use, and the authorities seem unwilling or unable to check this
menace. It is high time that NGO's in Bangalore get together to
decide on what manner they can help the authorities to implement
these rules which on the face of it are not difficult to detect.
This is also an area where NGO's could be empowered to take direct
action. As we have often said before, the hiatus between officials
and the public at large needs to be reduced, and empowerment of
selected citizens groups for specific ends is a good way to
achieve this objective.
A Rain Water Harvesting Primer
The Bangalorean's guide to roof top rain water harvesting
DO YOU KNOW :
Bangalore gets most of its drinking water from a distance of 95
kms and a depth of 500 mts.
That pollution of groundwater is increasing.
That nature provides us good water on our roof that we waste.
That we can use rain to supplement our water needs.
That we can all harness this precious resource.
WHAT Is rooftop rainwater harvesting?
It is the process of collecting, storing and using rain falling on
rooftops of houses or other constructions.
WHY harvest rainwater?
For these reasons:
it makes ecological and financial sense not to waste a pure
natural resource available in large quantity
in the case of a home builder at an initial stage of
construction investments in time. design and money are minimal
for adopting roof rain water harvesting.
ground water sources are increasingly getting depleted or are
getting polluted. Bore wells are either silting up, getting
short of water or are drawing polluted water.
private purchase of water from tankers is unreliable in quality
and is also costly.
it encourages water conservation and self dependence.
it will reduce water bills
WHO can harvest rooftop rainwater?
Ideally rainwater harvesting is for any person planning to build a
house or who is in possession of an independent plot in Bangalore.
Persons who have already constructed houses can also harvest
rainwater by 'retrofitting' their house. Persons in apartments can
also harvest rainwater, a group approach will be required in such
a case. Industries, factories, schools, colleges, in fact any
building, can harvest rainwater since they have large roof areas.
HOW is rooftop rain to be harvested?
Collect rain water from the roof top. Draw the rainwater down from
pipes. Filter the water and finally store the rain water for later
use. Three easy methods for harvesting are:-
WHEN should roof top rainwater be harvested?
The number of rainy days in Bangalore is more than 67. Over the
last 5 years it has rained as follows
||Total Rainfall (mm)
||No. of Rainy Days
||Volume of water collected (Ltrs)
Back to News letter