Among the many environmental issues that Bengaluru is going through like water crisis, air pollution, reduction in forest cover surely stands at one. Bengaluru's tree cover has reduced from 70% to less than 3%!
Bengaluru has become an example of how development can go wrong. It is a symbol of bad governance, bad planning, and unsustainable development. This is a city, clearly on the path of self-destruction, due to ill-conceived policies of its Government.
Already, the surrounding areas of Bengaluru are under undue stress due to the demands of Bengaluru's growth, from over-exploitation of water to destruction of green cover, to Mining for construction purposes.
Last lung space of Bengaluru, Bannerghatta National Park
Illegal dynamiting of hillocks for stone quarrying and crushing activities are wreaking havoc in the Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ) and the last lung space of Bengaluru, Bannerghatta National Park (BNP).
Bannerghatta National Park is part of contiguous wildlife habitat within the Mysore Elephant Reserve with breeding populations of Asiatic elephants, high faunal and floral diversity and an important watershed for several rivers which join the Cauvery.
But, the irresponsible State and Central Governments have favored the interests of the Mining lobby, to reduce the ESZ from 269 SQ KM to 169 SQ KM.
This is leading to commercial activity on the periphery of BNP, deforestation, increased man-animal conflict and in due course largescale encroachment of the forest itself.
Pollution increases with construction activities
This will have disastrous consequences on the National Park and Bengaluru. Wildlife corridors, the watershed of rivers, and green cover will be directly affected. Construction will increase, and pollution will increase. The National park itself will deteriorate. Moreover, the last lung space of our city will be destroyed.
Despite the huge public protest with more than 80,000 citizens of Bengaluru sending their objections to the Centre, the State Forest Department has not considered the importance of ESZ.
This will be the death knell of Bengaluru. Bengaluru is already unliveable, and with the loss of the ecosystem around BNP, Bengaluru will become a torture chamber for its residents.
Reverse the damage done!
The citizens of Bengaluru and Karnataka are unhappy with this corrupt and irresponsible decision. We demand the following:
We unequivocally demand that the ESZ be reversed to 269 SQ KM. Nothing less than that will do! We also demand that a committee be set up to ensure the implementation of ESZ restrictions, immediately!
(The views expressed in the article are the author’s own. Let Me Breathe neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)