Bangalore Environment Trust Newsletter, January 2000

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 City Corporation.

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 etc.

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 right nerve.

For further information and to know more about Swabhimana.

Ms. Josephine.
Coordinator - Swabhimana. Office of the
Bangalore Mahanagara Palike. II Floor Annexe,
N. R. Square.
Bangalore 560 002.

Assisting Government to Enforce Existing Laws

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


  • 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

Year Total Rainfall (mm) No. of Rainy Days Volume of water collected (Ltrs)
1994 587.10 107 46968
1995 1072.20 116 85776
1996 1173.30 118 93864
1997 717.40 88 57392
1998 1431.80 115 114544

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