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Abhal Maya

प्रदूषणमुक्त हरित शहरांची संकल्पना 

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  आपल्या देशातल्या दिल्लीसह अनेक प्रमुख शहरांनी प्रदूषणाची धोकादायक पातळी ओलांडली आहे. इतकेच नव्हे तर सांगली,कोल्हापूरसारखी छोटी शहरेही प्रदूषणाच्या विळख्यात सापडली आहेत. इथल्या लोकांचे जगणे मुश्किल बनत चालले आहे.  त्यामुळे या गोष्टीकडे गांभिर्याने पाहण्याची गरज आहे. या अनुषंगाने हरित शहरांच्या (ग्रीन सिटी) संकल्पनेचा विचार होण्याची गरज आहे. हरित शहर म्हणजे पर्यावरणाला अनुकूल असे शहर. शहराचे आकारमान, लोकसंख्या यांनुसार शहर आणि परिसरातील झाडांची संख्या असणे म्हणजे हरित शहर किंवा ‘गीन सिटी’ होय. अशा शहरांमध्ये लोकसंख्या आणि वाहने तसेच कार्बन उत्सर्जन याच्या प्रमाणात प्रदूषणावर उतरा ठरणारी झाडांची लागवड करणे अपेक्षित असते. लोकसंख्येच्या प्रमाणात झाडांची संख्या असेल तर त्या शहरांमध्ये राहणार्‍या नागरिकांना स्वच्छ हवेचा आनंद घेता येऊ शकेल. स्वच्छ हवा नसल्यामुळे नागरिकांच्या आरोग्यावर होणारे परिणाम टाळता येऊ शकतात. वृक्षांची संख्या मोठ्या प्रमाणात असणे म्हणजे पक्षी, कीटक, छोटे प्राणी यांचीही संख्या वाढवण्यास प्रोत्साहन देण्यासारखे आहे. एखाद्या शहरावर झाडांच्या रूपाने हिरवे आच्छादन असेल तर तेथे पर्यावरणाचे संतुलन साधले जाते आणि जैववैविधतेचे संरक्षणही केले जाते.  देशातील सध्याची शहरे पाहिली तर या शहरांचा श्‍वास वाहनांच्या प्रचंड संख्येमुळे आणि वाहनातून बाहेर पडणार्‍या धुरामुळे कोंडला गेला आहे. वाहनांच्या प्रचंड संख्येमुळे आणि वाहनांमधून तसेच अन्य मार्गाने होणार्‍या कार्बन उत्सर्जनामुळे शहरांमध्ये प्राणवायूचे भरपूर प्रमाण असलेली शुद्ध हवा मिळणे मुश्किल झाले आहे. गेल्या काही वर्षांत उद्योगीकरणाबरोबरच शहरीकरणाचा वेगही झपाट्याने वाढला. शहराने आपल्या आसपासची छोटी खेडी गिळंकृत करणे चालू केले आहे. अनेक शहरांच्या आसपास पूर्वी खेडी होती असे आता सांगावे लागते आहे. या खेड्यांमध्ये टोलेजंग इमारतींची शेती केली जाऊ लागली आहे. शहरांभोवतींच्या खेड्यांमधील जमिनीला सोन्यापेक्षाही अधिक भाव आला आहे तो शहरीकरणाच्या अफाट वेगामुळे. शहरांमधील मोकळी मैदाने, बागा, शहराबाहेरच्या देवरायांवर सर्रास कुर्‍हाड चालविली जाऊ लागली आहे. रस्ता रुंदीकरणाच्या नावाखाली हमरस्त्यांवरील वडाच्या शेकडो झाडांची कत्तल होत आहे. शहरांमध्ये पावलो पावली भौतिक सुविधा उपलब्ध होऊ लागल्यामुळे खेड्यातून शहरात स्थलांतरित होणार्‍यांची संख्या प्रचंड वेगाने वाढते आहे. एकदा शहरात आलेला खेड्यातला माणूस पुन्हा आपल्या गावी जात नाही. परिणामी शहरांमध्ये बेकायदा झोपडपट्ट्या, अवैध वसाहती वाढू लागल्या आहेत. शहराच्या वाढत्या लोकसंख्येची निवासाची गरज पूर्ण करण्यासाठी आसपासच्या खेड्यांमधील जमिनी गिळंकृत केल्या जात आहेत.  शहर आणि परिसरामधील झाडांची संख्या वेगाने कमी होत असल्यामुळे पर्यावरणाचे असंतुलन निर्माण झाले आहे. शहरांच्या अनैसर्गिक वाढीमध्ये पर्यावरणाकडे अक्षम्य दुर्लक्ष केले जात आहे. शहरांच्या वाढीला कोणी हरकत घेणार नाही, मात्र शहरे वाढताना त्या शहरांमधील आणि शहरांभोवतालच्या भागात पर्याप्त प्रमाणात झाडांची संख्या असली पाहिजे याकडे सत्ताधारी आणि प्रशासन कोणीच लक्ष द्यायला तयार नाही. या स्थिती विरोधात मूठभर पर्यावरणवादी आपला क्षीण आवाज उठवताना दिसतात. मात्र या आवाजाची दखल घेण्याचे सौजन्य शहरांचा कारभार सांभाळणार्‍या महापालिका दाखवत नाहीत आणि राज्य सरकारही दाखवत नाहीत. त्यांच्या दृष्टीने शहराचे पर्यावरण, शहरांमधील झाडांची संख्या, शुद्ध हवेचा पुरवठा करणारी झाडे लावणे हे विषय अत्यंत गौण आहेत. शहरांच्या अक्राळविक्राळ वाढीमुळे वातावरणात वाढलेले कार्बनचे प्रमाण पाहता, शहरांमध्ये ग्रीन बेल्टची निर्मिती करणे अत्यावश्यक होऊन बसले आहे.  शहरांच्या वाढीमध्ये उद्योगधंद्यांचाही हातभार लागतो आहे. माहिती तंत्रज्ञानावर आधारित अनेक उद्योग शहरांमध्ये येत आहेत. उद्योगधंदे,कारखाने यासाठी शहरांमधील विजेचा वापर प्रचंड प्रमाणात वाढला आहे. शहरांमध्ये ज्या इमारती बांधल्या जातात त्या इमारती बांधताना प्रकाशाची व्यवस्था, व्हेन्टिलेशन, तापमान नियंत्रण या गोष्टींचा विचारच केला जात नाही. त्यामुळे अशा इमारतींमध्ये प्रकाश, हवा यासाठी 24 तास विजेचा वापर करणे अपरिहार्य ठरले आहे. कारखाने, बँका, सरकारी कार्यालये, खाजगी कंपन्यांची कार्यालये, आयटी कंपन्या या ठिकाणी एअरकंडीशनरचा वापर मर्यादेबाहेर केला जात आहे. विजेचा वापर मोठ्या प्रमाणात केला जात असल्याने शहरांमध्ये हरितगृह वायू उत्सर्जनाचे प्रमाण प्रचंड झाले आहे. या सार्‍याचा एकत्रित परिणाम शहरांमधील पर्यावरणचा समतोल ढासळण्यात झाला आहे. याचे दुष्परिणाम शहरांमध्ये राहणार्‍यांना भोगावे लागत आहेत. हे टाळण्यासाठी शहरात झाडांची मोठ्या प्रमाणात लागवड महत्त्वाची आहे. शाळा, महापालिका,बँका, खासगी उद्योग, कारखाने, सरकारी कार्यालये या परिसरात मोठ्या प्रमाणात झाडे लावली जायला हवीत आणि ती वाढवली आणि संगोपली जायला हवीत.नागरिकांनीही आपल्या राहत्या घरासमोर,परसबागेत हमखास झाडे लावून हरित शहरासाठी पावले उचलायला हवीत. -मच्छिंद्र ऐनापुरे,जत  

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Tanisha Kulkarni

Are Smart Cities Really Necessary?

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Why do we need Smart Cities? Three factors can answer this question: urbanization, economic growth and environmental challenges.   What is a Smart City? The increased pressure on the cities due to increased numbers of inhabitants, an increased necessity to generate economic growth and increasing environmental challenges leaves the cities in need to develop a sustainable way of living. This sustainability is developed through environmental sustainable solutions combined with a full use of the possibilities the digitalization of the society has given us. The core infrastructure elements in a Smart City would include: adequate water supply, assured electricity supply, sanitation, including solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport, affordable housing, especially for the poor, robust IT connectivity and digitalization, good governance, especially e-Governance and citizen participation, sustainable environment, safety and security of citizens, particularly women, children and the elderly health and education   Strategies to achieve a smart city? Retrofitting This will introduce planning in an existing built-up area to make the area more efficient and liveable. Depending on the existing level of infrastructure services in the identified area and the vision of the residents, the cities will prepare a strategy to become smart. Since existing structures are largely to remain intact in this model, it is expected that more intensive infrastructure service levels and a large number of smart applications will be packed into the retrofitted Smart City.   Redevelopment It will effect a replacement of the existing built-up environment and enable co-creation of a new layout with enhanced infrastructure using mixed land use and increased density. Two examples of the redevelopment model are the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Project in Mumbai (also called the Bhendi Bazaar Project) and the redevelopment of East Kidwai Nagar in New Delhi being undertaken by the National Building Construction Corporation.   Greenfield development will introduce most of the Smart Solutions in a previously vacant area using innovative planning, plan financing and plan implementation tools with provision for affordable housing, especially for the poor. One well known example is the GIFT City in Gujarat. Unlike retrofitting and redevelopment, greenfield developments could be located within the limits of the local Urban Development Authority (UDA).  

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Tanisha Kulkarni

Save the Silent Valley 

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Save the Silent Valley was a social movement aimed at the protection of Silent Valley, an evergreen tropical forest in the Palakkad district of Kerala, India. It was started in 1973 to save the Silent Valley Reserve Forest from being flooded with a hydroelectric project. The valley was declared as Silent Valley National Park in 1984. Induction of the Project In 1970, the Kerala State Electricity Board proposed a hydroelectric dam across the Kunthipuzha River that runs through Silent Valley, that will submerge 8.3 sq km of untouched moist evergreen forest. Arguments for the Silent Valley Hydroelectric Project: It will generate electricity for the state of Kerala with the installation of four units of 60 MW each. Provide employment to several thousand people during the construction phase and boost the state economy. Arguments against the Silent Valley Hydroelectric Project: The entire lower valley will be submerged by the dam, destroying its biodiversity. The 10 percent loss projected by the government will actually be far worse. The destruction they caused by the workforce– illegal wood felling, cattle grazing, poaching, encroaching will destroy the Valley. Endangered lion-tailed macaque, which is a unique species found only in the valley. The project would cause its extinction. In 1977 the Kerala Forest Research Institute carried out an ecological impact study of the Silent Valley area and proposed that the area be declared a biosphere reserve. Several NGOs strongly opposed the project and urged the government to abandon it. Protests against the Valley In 1979, N.V. Krishna Warrier of the Prakriti Samrakshana Samiti, Prof. Joseph John, and P. Gopalakrishnan Nair, an advocate, filed a petition and got a stay order from the High Court of Kerala, stopping work on the project. Soon after, awareness campaigns held protest meetings, rallies and debates all over the state, turning into a mass people’s movement. Famous writers from Kerala contributed with poems, plays, stories and articles, to convey the message to the ordinary citizens. In January 1981, owing to unrelenting public pressure, Indira Gandhi declared the Silent Valley to be protected. Soon, the Silent Valley Hydroelectric Project was called off with Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi formally inaugurating the Silent Valley National Park.  

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Tanisha Kulkarni

The Tehri Dam Project

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The Tehri Dam is the highest dam in India and one of the highest in the world. It is a multi-purpose earth-fill embankment dam on the Bhagirathi River near Tehri in Uttarakhand, India. Phase 1 was completed in 2006, and the dam withholds a reservoir for irrigation, municipal water supply and the generation of 1,000 megawatts of hydroelectricity. Objectives The major objectives of the project are to seize floodwaters of the Bhagirathi and the Bhilangana rivers into a large reservoir behind the dam, genera­tion of hydroelectricity and irrigation of agricultural land in the western Uttar Pradesh. The project was cleared by the Planning Com­mission of India in 1972 and the work was started by the Irrigation Department of Uttar Pradesh on April 5, 1978. The Tehri reservoir will sequester 345 million cubic meters of water of the Bhagirathi and Bhilangana rivers. The reservoir will submerge 467 square kilometers of area including the Tehri town, belong­ing to 172 villages and will displace 1, 25,000 peo­ple. Environmental issues The Tehri Dam has been the object of protests by environmental organizations and local people of the region. The protest was against the displacement of town inhabitants as well as environmental consequences of the weak ecosystem. The project has raised concerns about the environmental consequences of locating such a large dam in the fragile ecosystem of the Himalayan foothills. The Tehri dam is located in the Central Himalayan Seismic Gap, which was the site of a 6.8 magnitude earthquake in October 1991, with an epicenter 53 km from the location of the dam. If an earthquake were to occur, the potentially resulting dam-break would submerge numerous towns downstream, whose populations total near half a million. Environmental activist Sunderlal Bahuguna led the Anti-Tehri Dam movement for years, from 1980s till 2004. A protest message against Tehri dam, says "We don't want the dam. The dam is the mountain's destruction." The relocation of more than 100,000 people from the area has led to legal battles over resettlement rights, and ultimately delayed the project. In spite of concerns and protests, operation of the Tehri Dam continues.

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Sai Sunayana

Dump WASTE in the right PLACE!

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It’s taught to us in our second grade that we are not supposed to litter our surroundings. We are supposed to keep the environment clean and tidy. Yes, we passed second grade decades ago, but we don’t seem to apply what we learnt as a kid. Why? One major reason is, what I would like to call – INFLUENCE. The teacher sure told us not to litter the surroundings, the next evening she waves hi to you, and we see her throwing garbage into an empty site. It’s really disturbing to have viewed a similar incident today. A man driving in a luxurious car slows down his vehicle and throws a carton of empty alcohol bottles into an empty plot, and leaves with no fear, shame, or guilt. First, it’s not basic manners to dump waste in someone else’s land. Second, its illegal. Third, it shows how much you worry about your surroundings and what your contribution is towards saving the planet.  It’s not like the person who dumped the bottles didn’t know all this, he did! Its mere influence that made him irresponsible and careless. These kind of people appear everywhere in our nation. They make excuses saying, “when they can do it, why can’t we?” from previous articles, we know about waste management and garbage disposal. Hence, we learn that wastes like glass bottles and plastic ones undergo different methods of recycling for better usage and recyclability. The way we dispose waste plays a vital role in the way we maintain our environment. We don’t dispose waste properly, the waste sits around you all your life, especially materials like plastic, glass and a few polymers take millions of years to decompose. There’s always a good, efficient and environment-friendly way to dispose garbage, be it wet or dry. Let’s always opt for a procedure that keeps the nature fresh and green! And not stinky and dirty!

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Sai Sunayana

BYE to BIRDS!

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They are tiny creatures who can’t speak nor express what they feel in any way. The only thing they know to do is to make your mornings more melodious and beautiful with their chirps. These little creatures are taken for granted and almost no one notices them. How many of you have noticed the dwindling number of birds in the decade? Going back in time, ten years ago, morning were filled with bright sunshine, smell of flowers, wind slowly brushing your hair and the sound of the birds in the background. Sounds beautiful, isn’t it? Thinking about today’s mornings, we wake up to the sounds of horns on the streets, with the air filled with dust and smoke, seeing no sunlight cause of the tall skyscrapers. The main reason for the drastic change in our lifestyles is the technology. Communication being a part of technology is at the peaks of development and innovation. Till today, not many know that these radiations that we use to connect between cities, countries and continents are the reasons for the extinction of little birds. Birds are known to be sensitive to magnetic radiation. Cell phones and towers emit a very low frequency of 900 or 1800 MHz, called microwaves. Studies have found that they can cause thin skulls of chicks and thin egg shells damage. Microwaves can interfere with their sensors and misguide them while navigating and preying.  A study found that microwaves emitted by cell phone towers and handsets are responsible for damaging eggs and embryos of sparrows and hence are almost seen nowhere now. And that is just one of the urban factors driving out several species of birds out of the cities. We want to stay connected with our loved ones, we want to know what’s happening around the globe every minute, we want to share our feelings and experiences from people staying away from us. But, losing one component in our ecosystem will be hard on us later. Give it a thought. 

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Sai Sunayana

Mysuru- cleanest city of India

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The palace, the zoo, the atmosphere, the history, the wealth, the elegance, the Chamundi betta, all add to the beauty of this historic place of India, Mysuru. This city has made Karnataka proud by being ranked as the cleanest city in India by the ‘Swach Surverkshan’ survey in 2016. Well, most of us are now curious to know what makes this city so clean and tidy. The answer lies in the way the city is governed, how citizens receive laws and abide by it, and most importantly, the love for their city! The first reason for it being the cleanest city is its sewage system. It functions flawlessly and meets the demands of the population. It never clogs, not even during monsoons. It has a structured plan with regards to the layout of their sewage system. This city clears waste like no other, the solid waste is treated and most of the waste is recycled. Even the smallest things is believed to be recyclable and is effectively recycled. Youngsters are playing a major role by contributing to NGOs and other local bodies. Many NGOs have sprung up in the city and they actively organize cleanliness drives, education, and awareness programs and keep the city clean. Also, the sanitation facilities have been ramped up to ensure people have facilities all over the city and help keep the city clean. Mysuru is called the city of lakes and greenery, it also has modern infrastructure like well-planned roads, and a good layout of which make it easy to navigate and capable of playing host to the innumerable tourists that throng it. There is so much planning, hard work and administration behind being ranked No.1.  It surely did not happen overnight. The main reason was that the citizens abide by the rules and did every bit to keep their city, tidy and happy! THE QUESTION IS, “ARE WE DOING ENOUGH FOR OUR CITY?” 

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