The stark reasons why Bengaluru is sinking
The causes of the flooding
- Hydrological and climate experts have repeatedly highlighted the risk caused by encroaching into lakes and watersheds, destroying wetlands and concretisation of lands.
- Due to the rapid expansion of Bengaluru’s IT Centres, the city had to expand multiple times to accommodate them all. This created six city municipal corporations, which were merged subsequently into the Bhruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
- During the merger, many land records were either destroyed or tampered with, and fake documents fabricated by corrupt interests.
- Lakes and their catchment areas were converted into private lands.
- Many builders backfilled these records in order to make money building apartments, shopping malls and information-technology parks.
- We are seeing a nexus of corruption involving politicians and bureaucrats, eschewing environmentally sensible decisions for short-term gains.
- The two classic impediments in public welfare provision are:
- First, the problem of free riders, where people partook of city-provided benefits without paying city taxes.
- And second, the ‘tragedy of the commons’ problem, which is the problem of overconsumption, under investment, and ultimately depletion of a common pool resource.
How other cities fared against similar issues
- Many cities in Europe and the United States faced similar issues in their heyday where there was the ruthless destruction of the environment, and construction frenzy to become pulsating economic growth engines.
- They too have benefited from migration, which brought in energy and skill.
- The difference between us and them is that they grew when nature had the leeway to heal and establish a new environmental equilibrium. We, in contrast, are damaging our environment when climate change is already upon us; and further damage would only result in a cascading succession of disasters.
What have been done
- Bengaluru has achieved limited success in rainwater harvesting, solar water heating, segregation of garbage and the stoppage of littering, even though deadlines were unmet.
What needs to be done
- First, we must execute institutional euthanasia where by outdated institutions are replaced by a constitutionally compliant structure, with local governments at the top.
- Second, the community needs to take some hard decisions on transportation, curb car travel and improve cheap public transport with more buses instead of waiting for the expensive metro.
- We must preserve our remaining green cover and plant more trees, both in the city and around it. We can use the Miyawaki method to achieve this.
- We must de-concretise our pavements, prohibit littering and segregate garbage as unsegregated garbage clogs drains. We must enforce sewage treatment plant operational standards.
- We must also deal with the huge legacy of unsustainable constructions and encroachments.
Source The Hindu
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