Ramachandra says the fast paced unsystematic growth will worsen the situation.
Image: Bengaluru/ PTI

In the past couple of days, alarmist articles with headlines screaming “Bengaluru will be a dead city in the next 5 years” have appeared in several publications, and first appeared on Deccan Herald.  Read the DH story based on the IISc story here.

Funny thing is, the same newspaper, carried a story in 2010, with the headline “City may become unliveable in 5 years”. Read that story here. Both stories, about six years apart, are sourced from the IISc and based on studies conducted by TV Ramachandra.

TV Ramachandra has since clarified to The News Minute that few statistics mentioned in latest DH report were wrong and the 5 year deadline was from the previous report, published in 2010.

So no, Bengaluru, you may not be ‘dead’ in 5 years.

But this is no reason to rejoice, things are getting pretty messed up nonetheless for the city, thanks to the unsystematic development. Ramachandra says that if Bengaluru does grow at this pace then the situation might get worse soon.

Here we lay out for you in a detail how the rapid growth of Bengaluru city is leading to its own collapse.
 

1. Bad public transport, more pollution

The maps show that CO2 emissions in peripheral areas of Bengaluru are very high, and that is possibly because of the concentration of IT companies in those areas and workers at IT companies have their own vehicles.

However, it could also be because the reducing green cover that does not compensate it with enough oxygen.

The two maps show CO2 emissions for work-based commuting and household commuting.

 

People commuting for home-based work or for personal work.

People commuting for office-based work.
 

CO2 emissions from the transport sector was the highest, at over 43.83%, between 2011 and 2012.

Compared to the metro cities, CO2 emission from road transportation in Bengaluru and Hyderabad is the highest.

Bengaluru are Hyderabad are victims of poor public transportation system, says Ramachandra
 

Further, research done on air quality in Bengaluru, by Delhi based Center for Science and Environment in December 2015, says that, an average Bangalorean breathes an alarming dose of particulate matter on a daily basis.  Thus resulting in increase in respiratory problems in people of all age groups especially children.

Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Bengaluru has recorded a 57 per cent increase in PM10 levels between 2010 and 2014 – the highest were found to be amongst southern cities.

Some of the worst hit pollution hotspots include Amco Battery Mysore Road, Graphite India White Field, Silk Board Hosur and Victoria Hospital.
 

Earlier The News Minute had done a story on the drastic growth of the city.  Read here
 

2. Population

Analysis based on remote sensing satellite data by Dr TV Ramachandra and Dr Bharat H Aithal shows that there is 925% increase in concretisation in 4 decades.  The corresponding increase in population has also been massive.

The first chart shows how the ward-wise population has increased over a decade.

Map showing rapid increase in population between 2001 to 2011. 

 

3. Water bodies

Most Bengalureans would know of the unending lake issues that the city has been facing. Less than one percent of Bengaluru is covered by water bodies, and research shows that 54% of lakes have encroached for buildings already.

Look at how the lakes have been encroached over the years.

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Encroachment into Agara- Bellandur wetland. This is the case of many other lakes and wetlands in the city.

 

Many lakes have gone missing since 2011.

Lakes are either encroached upon by builders or are fed with sewage. 

Further, drinking water has been a major concern for the people in Bengaluru, as most lakes have been sewage fed and even the ground water has large heavy metal and carcinogen content.

 

4.  Concretization

As mentioned earlier, there has been a 925% increase in concretisation in the past 4 decades. Further, satellite imagery shows that in 2014 the city with a population of 95 lakh had just over 14 lakh trees.

“For every seven persons there is one tree. Every day one person exhales between 540-900 grams of carbon dioxide and one hectare of trees takes in close to 8 ton of carbon dioxide. So based on that calculation every person needs 8 trees. So you can imagine how pathetic the situation is,” says TV Ramachandra.

 

By 2020, over 70% of Bengaluru would e concretized and the city would have less than 17% vegetation. 

 

5. Vegetation cover

Ever wondered what would happen to Bengaluru if it saw floods like Chenna in 2015? Encroachment of natural drains, topography change caused by constructions, removal of green cover, depletion of wetlands are the prime reasons for frequent flooding even during normal rainfall in the city. While this map shows how sparsely vegetation is distributed across Bengaluru,

 

Ward-wise vegetation cover

 

Many wards in the central areas need to make an immediate action plan to increase vegetation, say researchers. 78% of green cover has been lost over a decade, and in 4 years vegetation cover would come down to 17%.

“The IT sector has increased the influx of people from other states and the city is facing the brunt as it has to accommodate all of them. There has been no planned expansion at all,” Ramachandra says.