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Aspirational city

September 16, 2012

A city’s aspiration

S.Vishwanath

zenrainman@gmail.com

The recent problems arising out of the pollution from the garbage dump site of the city and the directions coming from the High Court has shown that the city and its residents will need to respond more in terms of ‘recycling and reuse in my backyard’  rather than an ‘ out of sight out of mind’ approach. Many apartments are now turning around to segregating waste from households into bio-degradable, recyclable and medical/disposable waste and treating it appropriately. Composting and bio-gas generation has emerged as increasingly useful approaches to recover nutrients and energy from ‘waste’.

Recycling and reuse has one of its most favourable impact on water, both surface and especially groundwater. Unmanaged landfills leach into the ground rendering soils unfit as well as polluting groundwater already a scarce resource. Managing waste well frees much of the water from contamination and makes it available for other uses.

The city too is rolling out new water connections from the Cauvery 4th stage phase 2 wherein it will receive 500 million litres of water per day additionally. Around 300,000 new connections are likely to be given shortly. The city utility is insisting that for most of the new connections a rainwater harvesting system is a must. This will bring an overall 400,000 rainwater harvesting systems to the city thus turning rainwater into a useful resource when properly and correctly implemented.

The rules for rainwater harvesting are simple. For every square metre of roof area create a 20 litre capacity for storage or recharge. For every square metre of paved area create a 10 litre capacity for storage or recharge. If you make a recharge well make it at least 3 metres deep. The use of a filter is optional and not compulsory. Rainwater can also be led into an existing sump or a bore-well too. A process of self certification and submission to the utility is also enough.

The city of Bangalore has already the single largest number of solar water heater installations and that is progressing at a further rapid pace. It also has the single largest number of modern earth buildings in India. These are most eco-friendly.

The city has therefore to aspire to be the first in India in all these fronts. Solar water heating and the use of solar photo-voltaic, the number of rainwater harvesting installations and the number of independent buildings and apartments recycling waste and composting it or turning it to energy.

At a larger level the city can also be the city with the most number of surface water bodies revived and rehabilitated. Our city fathers must instill this pride and drive into an already aware citizenry a positive force for solutions. There is enough negativity in the air otherwise. A virtuous cycle reinforcing livelihoods and the environment is needed.

A combined force of citizens and institutions is unstoppable as the city of Curitiba or Bogota has shown or as has Surat. Will we get there? 

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