Saturday, August 14, 2010


Bangalore, located at 900m above sea level is encompassed by hills, valleys and rivers. The river Arkavathi rises in the Nandi hills, passes by the side of Ramagiri hills, enters through Kanakapura range and joins the Kaveri river at Mekedatu. Similarly Suvarnamukhi originates on Suvarnamukhi hills, traverses through Bannerghattta valley and joins Arkavathi near Kanakapura. Another small river Marihalla passes in between two large hills at Savandurga which is at an elevation of 1025m above sea level.

It’s precisely because of these bountiful ecosystems which had been fairly maintained and regulated by themselves without much interference and manipulation by man, Bangalore acquired an agreeable and salubrious climate. No extremes of temperature or high rainfall. There is a perennial spring called Done near Ramagiri hills, a waterfall 20m deep near Muthyalamadu and hundreds of large and small water bodies spread across the length and breadth of Bangalore district.

As a matter of fact Bangalore district may be said to be in a rain shadow area as the winds blowing from the south loose all their moisture by the time they reach a distance of 350kms from the Arabian Sea. But yet Bangalore receives nearly 80cms of rainfall that is spread through most of the year. The climate for nine months in the year is comparable to that of south of England without its frost and fog. Bangalore is “India without its scorching sun and Europe without its snow!!” The climate is in between temperate and tropical.

The early accounts of Bangalore indicate that the vegetation in the district resembled the forests of Chittagong hill tracts. On account of their thick canopy. And more recently (1930) C.H. Rao stated that parts of Bangalore district abounded in huge trees and shrubs resembling Dandakaranya forest. The hilly vegetation, pond and riverbed vegetation and the road side avenue trees provided the Bangalore region a substantial forest cover. The undulated landscape with hills and valleys and numerous water bodies enriched Bangalore’s environment and provided a perfect climate to grow fruits and vegetables in abundance.

Most of the lakes and small ponds had large vegetation around them which included both wild and cultivated species and also a number of marshy plants, all of which helped recharge the groundwater continuously and also moderated any extremity in climate. Thus the groundwater tables in Bangalore not only didn’t fall but encouraged rich cultivation of horticulture, agriculture and other related practices of animal husbandry and the like.

Bangalore enjoys the sobriquet of a Garden City mainly because of its two verdant sprawling tree parks, namely Lal Bagh and Cubbon Park and also a number of other flowering gardens. Lal Bagh, a veritable piece of heritage is undoubtedly attributed to Tipu Sultan, who, it is believed, imported plants of commercial and aesthetic value from Egypt, Persia, Nort India, Burma and other places and got them planted here. It is also believed that some French botanists assisted him in creating these gardens.

Changes in urban scenario and environmental impacts:

In 1930 the first water supply scheme was started with the construction of T.G.Halli water reservoir. The population of Bangalore was 1,30,000. Sir.M.Vishweraiya envisioned a future population of 6,00,000 and accordingly installed a water purification and supply system for 6 lakhs of people. We are now nearly 8 million people in Bangalore and water comes from the Kaveri river over a distance of 125kms, pumped everyday by using electric power whose monthly bills amount to Rs.30 crores. 900 million liters of water is supplied everyday while the demand is 1200 million liters. And it’s growing with the rise in urban population and expansion of industrial and residential layouts. The need to grow more crops and vegetables for the growing population is also essential.


As explained earlier, the numerous ecosystems such as forests, grasslands, green woodlots (gomals), shrub jungles and valleys provided Bangalore with abundant ecological and environmental assets. In spite of the fact that parts of Bangalore lie in the dry deciduous zone, the transitional belt has provided various ecological advantages to the district as a whole.

Topographically, Bangalore is one of the unique cities in the world. But unfortunately the city has lost more than 50% of its green cover and several urban ecosystems, damaging severely, its environment and salubrious climate. The rampant urbanization coupled with unplanned growth has taken a heavy toll on the precious ecosystems such as lakes, gomals and vast stretches of forest cover. Out of nearly 400 large lakes, we are left only with 72 and more than half of them are polluted. The loss of nearly of green cover which equals to a couple of lakhs of trees, 300 large lakes and encroachment of remaining lakes have virtually paralyzed the carrying capacity of Bangalore.

Out of the 35 lakh motorized vehicle, nearly 2 million two-wheelers alone contribute almost 2.6 million tones of carbon-di-oxide into the atmosphere annually. The existing green cover unable to sequester the rising carbon-di-oxide levels and declining water bodies not being in a position to moderate the summer heat, global warming and climate change have virtually formalized their impact on the population.



Ever since its inception in 1998, Eco-Watch has been sensitizing people in Karnataka in general and Bangalore in particular about the importance of protecting the environment and promoting it as well.

1. During 1998-2000, Eco-Watch raised about 8000 fruit bearing and flowering trees in the area adjoining Banerghatta National Park in village. A small artificial pond also is created by Eco-Watch in this area.

2. Between 2002 & 2005 Eco-Watch planted around 40,000 native saplings in the Army (ASC Centre) on Koramangala-Indranagar Intermediate Ring Road. This was under the INEP – Dept. of Environment & Ecology Programme. They are all good healthy trees today.

3. About 8000 native tree saplings were planted in the Karnataka State Police Housing Corporation area near Kudlu in Bangalore during 2006-2008.

4. In Hoskote about 8500 saplings have been planted in the past two years and the project still continues till date.

5. Kaginele Development Authority in association with Eco-Watch planted 5000 trees in Kaginele Hever district in 2008-2009.

6. A Gene Bank of Western Ghats species is being developed on the VTU campus at Belgaum where Eco-Watch has already planted 6000 trees in the last four years.

7. On the bank of Kelageri Lake in Dharwad, a Bio-Park is being created where more than 2000 trees will be planted in the coming two years.

8. MAJOR FORESTRY PROJECT IN DODDABELLAPUR, BANGALORE: The Government of India (Ministry of Information & broadcasting) has provided nearly 500 acres of open land near Doddabellapur (about 30kms from Bangalore) where Eco-Watch is planning to raise about 1,00,000 trees in the coming three years. We have already planted about 15,000 saplings last year. The main objective is to develop a large lung space to the east of Bangalore where there is very poor vegetation which will not only help in enriching the biodiversity, but also help in recharging a substantial amount of groundwater.


The proposed lung space near Doddabellapur will help recharge groundwater resources, strengthen the catchment area for Hesargatta Lake and T.G.Halli Reservoir and bring about an improvement in the micro climate of the region. Eco-Watch is also planning to create a few mini artificial ponds to develop the place into a biodiversity hot spot of Bangalore.

The lung space will help sequester a large quantity of carbon-di-oxide, strengthen underground aquifers that will feed the lakes, improve hydrological cycle and most importantly, will benefit the student community to learn from this comprehensive project which will integrate many aspects of environment & conservation.

ECO-WATCH has been working with many agencies in Bangalore and outside on similar endeavours. However, the main objective of partnering with corporate, government, public-private agencies and the community is to strengthen the activities and reach out to a large section of the society. We havhe received great and positive response from all segments towards our efforts of greening and conservation over the last decade.

In this background, we wish to inform that Eco-Watch is looking for further support towards its major project of creating a mega lung space for Bangalore at Doddaballapur. Organisations such as Rotary, Lions, PRCI, Deutsche Bank, Intel, SAP Labs, BMRCL, Shell, NSS, Scouts & Guides, CitiBank and others have shown interest in supporting this project. We therefore appeal to every one who would like to be a part of such an effort for providing Bangalore the much needed green respite, to come forward and support in any possible way and strengthen the project.

Article by:
Suresh Heblikar
Chairman, ECO-WATCH

No comments:

Post a Comment

Ground Report India publishes articles as they are given. Ground Report India is not responsible for views of writers, critics and reporters. For any contradiction, please contact to the author.

Please give your Name, Email, Postal Address and Introduction with comment.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.