Bengaluru’s poorly designed environment regulatory systems and land use models wreak havoc


Citizen Matters portal and Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, in collaboration with the Bangalore International Centre (BIC) organized a panel discussion titled ‘Green or Gone’ in February 2022 to discuss the city’s development projects and their impact on the environment.

The discussion saw speakers focusing on the aftereffects of development projects on Bengaluru’s ecology and the efficacy of mandated Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) processes.

Starting with the overview of the EIA process and its stages, Debadityo Sinha from Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy outlined the case of disappearing green and blue spaces in Bengaluru. He also specifically highlighted the vanishing lakes, grasslands and wetlands, noting that the BBMP hasn’t done enough y to conserve the wetlands citing a ‘lack of funds.’

Meera K from Citizen Matters then joined the panel detailing the dismal state of Bengaluru’s ecological health and its deep linkage with the city’s climate future. She iterated the disappearance of grasslands from the cityscape, sounding alarm at the increase in land surface temperature that has shown impacts in rainfall patterns and water scarcity.

Journalist Bhanu Sridharan contributed with the idea of ‘nature’ as often constructed as something “remote” or “far off places like the Western Ghats” while not much attention paid to the local environment of Bengaluru. Bhanu reiterated that the physical and mental health of the urban population is closely linked to protecting the local environment.

Director of Climate Programs, WRI India, Ulka Kelkar, was also seen at the panel discussion wherein Kelkar drew numerous connections between local and global in terms of the aftermath of climate change. Kelkar also spoke of the increasing industrial emissions in India as sectors like steel and cement have been dotting the urban landscape more than ever.

Although it discussed the havoc created by the poorly designed environment assessment systems in Bengaluru, the event did conclude with listing some immediate local interventions that can positively alter the situation and minimize the looming damage to Bengaluru’s ecology. Efforts like rooftop solar power generation instead of massive utility-scale solar parks that can lead to local ramifications would work better, agreed on the experts. 

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