Bangalore – garden city, no more

Image for representation

By Accommodation Times News Service

BENGALURU:

Bengaluru or more popularly Bangalore has long been considered the nicest city to live in until it started getting threatened by its overflowing trash in recent times. Often considered as the ‘Garden City‘ of India, Bangalore is now being termed as the ‘Garbage City‘. The massive quantity of garbage poses extreme threats to the population, with a stench which hovers on the city day and night.

Bangalore was the choice of retreat for families, especially retirees due to the location and excellent climate. Dotted with several gardens and lakes, the city has been considered a good place to stay for years. Today, apart from trash, the city faces several chronic problems such as probably the worst traffic in the country, high population, water shortage, flood and bad attitude of the mixed breed of immigrants.

The growth of Bangalore:

To understand the problems in Bangalore today, it is imperative to understand what has lead to these problems. Bangalore started positioning itself as the IT hub of the country at the beginning of the millennium. It became the choice of place for almost all IT companies – big or small. This led to an enormous population influx – a growth from 5.7 million in 2001 to 8.7 million in 2011. The city has grown in size along with this population influx; however, most of this growth has been unplanned which is one of the main reasons for the problem that Bangalore faces today. However, planned or unplanned is an administrative term; people settle in where convenient.

Bangalore is the 4th most productive and is the 2nd fastest growing metro city in India. Apart from IT companies, Bangalore hosts head-quarters of several public sector undertakings as well as private sector giants.

Problems that the city faces today:

“With great power comes great responsibility”. The municipality of Bangalore, however, was not able to keep up with this fast growth and fell short in fulfilling their responsibility. Here’s an insight into the problems that the residents of Bangalore face every day:

Garbage:

One of the most important and menacing problem in Bangalore today is the waste disposal issue. Since the city has grown by leaps and bounds, the waste disposal plants which were located outside the city now fall within the city limits. Naturally, residents who live in the area have to put up with immense stench, which some claim even wakes them up at night. Apart from this, garbage piles can be seen in several nooks and corners of the city presenting an awful site. The vehicles that collect garbage are quite small and are open from the back which results in spillage of garbage when it is being carried out to the disposal centres.

The municipality faces extreme pressure on this part, with the amount of garbage increasing from 200 tonnes a day in 2000-01 to 3700 tonnes a day recently. This is one of the largest increases in garbage amount in any Indian city, second only to Delhi.

Water:

Availability of adequate quantities of water is another big problem affecting the city. Apart from water for daily usage, people face a problem with safe drinking water. The quality of water is not good and definitely not safe to drink. To provide accommodation to the population, several lakes were destroyed and buildings were made in the place of lakes. Several trees were cut to make way for infrastructure development.

Roads and Traffic:

Maintenance of roads is another major challenge marring the city. Not only is the number of roads inadequate, but they are also badly maintained. Potholes are an everyday reality for the residents. The roads are narrow in some of the crucial points causing immense traffic congestion. The absence of footpaths in many places forces pedestrians to walk on the busy roads.

All these have led to the worst traffic management in the country. On busy days, it might take an hour to cover about a kilometre or two. New roads and flyovers take a long time to be built adding to the already serious problem.

The poor condition of lakes:

At one point in time, lakes were one of the most precious possessions of Bangalore. Today, most of these lakes are in a dismal condition with very low to no maintenance. According to a study made on lakes in 2016, it was found that 98% of the lakes are encroached by the mafia and 90% of the lakes have sewage water dumped into them. More than half of the lakes are polluted and none of the lakes has water fit for drinking. Most lakes are lined up with apartment buildings which dump their sewage into the lake water adding onto the problem.

The worst was seen last year when the lakes started frothing and catching fire due to the presence of toxins. The foam coming out of such lakes are carcinogenic and can cause difficulty in breathing. Whenever it rains heavily, these foams flow onto the roads exposing residents of the city to this toxicity.

Dismal condition of gardens:

Bangalore hosts a number of beautiful gardens, Lalbagh being the most famous. However, trees are vanishing in large numbers. In 1973, 68% of Bangalore was covered by trees. By 2012, this number fell to 23% and has fallen even more ever since. The responsibility can be put on the urban planning department which does not think twice before severing trees to build infrastructure. Recently, the Government had plans to build a steel flyover by cutting down 50,000 trees which it finally had to scrap following protests by environment agencies.

Normal fallout of severing trees is the deteriorating air quality. Residents feel breathless every now and then and have become used to that.

Experts opine that half the population of Bangalore will have to be evacuated in the next decade if the city has to live. With its economy on the boom, Bangalore has the potential to become great again. The responsibility lies with the authorities on how to lead the way to sustainable development.





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