Sunday, April 3, 2016

PMC's Environment Report; Who Reads It Any Way?

“I had a sparrow & one day it flew away; I have a squirrel & one day it went away; one day I planted a tree & they both come back”… Dr A P J Kalam.

No need to introduce Mr. Kalam as whatever we will say for him is never going to be enough, all I will say a genius yet a nature lover from within or else we wouldn’t have been able to get such wonderful words about nature! I recalled these great words of wisdom by reading news about PMC’s Environment Report. Many won’t even not know what it means but there exists such report; in typical Puneri style some may ask where is it, in the safe deposit vault of some bank? But indeed not only Pune but every Municipal Corporation has to make a yearly environment report, its mandetory by law; I am not sure about Collector or Zillah Parishad but never heard any such news about them. In a way good as looking at the controversy as well outcome the report from PMC brings in, its better not to have one such report in first place! By the way if anyone wants to read about PMC’s environment report don’t look on web site on PMC as you won’t get it there but you can ask to environment officer, though I wonder if they even keep any spare copy!

Since last many years this subject was lingering in my mind rather I was curious about the way report is being made & what it covers but somehow I wasn’t able to pen down my thought about it but again this year’s news I read & then Sakal published horrible snaps of our rivers Mula, Mutha & its dying (or say died) condition & I decided to share my views on Environment Report. As any ways like so many things we do mechanically this report also gets published yearly & if you read the news of last five years about envo report you will come to know how much our rulers both elected & administration are serious about it! That way Pune is very conservative city & of habits, year after year we are used to witness same things as well the news papers also print the same news with same headlines. If you are a regular & watchful reader of news papers, you must have noticed especially typical news about Palkhi (a procession of Dnayneshwar & Tukaram maharaj) or Ganpati festivals or even the PMC’s Wardhapan Din i.e. birthday of PMC, it’s the day on which roles of elected members & administration gets reversed in a mock general body meeting; & you will realize what I meant.

One more addition is news about Environement Report by PMC, same words & same headlines, if at all some difference is then it’s just names involved in PMC administration. Like some yearly ritual it’s published by collecting data from various departments & cut pasted in print form & this I am not saying these are the elected member’s comments when it’s shown to them in general body meeting for their approval. There are  lengthy discussions amongst our “Mananiya’s’ (pet name of the elected members of PMC) & as usual accusing of failure of administration to control the damage of environment & the way it’s been prepared i.e. last year’s report just rearranged types! And how the report has not been made available to the members’ proper time & how they didn’t get any time to study the same! And in last the news says after five or six hours discussion the Environment Report has been passed as it is by the general body of PMC, that’s all, the end of environment report episode! Yes next day in small corner if at all any news paper cares then there is news about NGO’s slamming the so called envo report & has given their letter protesting the way report has made to Hon Commissioner! Every year same circus & I really pity citizens of this city which is proudly called as Oxford of West & for its knowledge or wisdom, though most of it is self proclaimed, atleast for our approch about environment report, I dare to say so!

Let’s put the envo report aside & look for the actual scene of environment in the city. To start with, any city’s environment can’t be thought of without considering the river or water body’s of the city. We must be the luckiest city on this front as inside the city limits, Pune’s Rivers: Mula, Mutha, Pawana, Indrayani and smaller rivulets like Dev Nadi and Ram Nadi look anything but walk-worthy. Here again Pawana & Indrayani doesn’t come under PMC’s jurisdiction so let’s focus on Mula & Mutha & other two rivulets as well numbers of streams & odhas which once use to carry fresh water all along in to the rivers. Just don’t ask about lakes or other water bodys, they have long gone & vanished! The city has nearly fifty kilometers of river fronts (this I am counting including extended boundary) & I doubt even in one kilometer of it we can really say it’s well maintained. Tell me a single stretch where we can walk along the rivers with open eyes & nose such is the condition of the river bed itself leave the riverfronts! I have once attended a seminar on biodiversity where Hema Sane madam who is retired professor of zoology has told that some 40 years back the Mula Mutha river beds as well it’s both fronts were so rich with biodiversity that she ccould count some 200 species of plants & equal number species of birds, fishes, butterflies around & used to take her students often as study tour. In the same seminar Mahajan sir has shared than some fifty years back residents used to directly lift the river water for drinking as well other domestic use! I think these sharing’s will now look like fairy tells from Hans Andersons’ stories, if told to today’s genre! Well what our envo report says about restoring the glory of our rivers & what has been done in past years since the envo report has come in existence? Why can’t we take just one kilometer stretch of river & restore biodiversity in this one patch & then replicate the model instead every day trying something new & announcing some dreams like using river for traffic via boats, which are not going to see day light ever! And then we are protecting our rivers by means like making a chain link cage along the bridges so people won’t be able to throw garbage in the river bed from bridges; "what an idea sirji", like the Idea internet advertise say! Now what next, make a chain link cage all along the riverbeds so people won’t be able to dump debris or waste along the riverbed or let’s enclose the entire river & use the top slab for shopping or parking! I wonder whether next envo report will have this agenda to protect the river or whatever has left of it! So much can be written about our rivers & how we have murdered them, that many can make PhD’s on the subject but alas we can’t make one single envo report which will tell how to rejuvenate the rivers & actually do it!

Then comes the garbage situation of the city; here unless the fursungi village (where the present garbage dept is situated) residents don’t make a road block & stops all the dumpers carrying garbage from city to the depot, the garbage issue we don’t even acknowledge that it exists! Neither the rulers nor the administration & not even residents cares a hang about our own garbage instead thinks it’s our right to throw it where ever we want to! The entire city roads are piled up with garbage bins along the roads & which are flooded by every type of waste. By law its mandatory to segregate the wet & dry garbage as well treat the wet garbage within the premise of all recent (means in last ten years at least) buildings. I wonder what the envo report says about exact statistics regarding this part & what is line of action it suggests for those who are not following this system! Nil I presume, as no society has been fined for not treating it’s wet garbage which has been sanctioned with the condition saying so, to my knowledge till now.

Road concrete & nallah bed concrete comes next & I may be wrong but the worst thing has happened to this city is not traffic but attitude of rampant concreting! This is death of whatever biodiversity left in the city as well water absorbtion of the land is gone too! I am not against concreting but the way it’s being done is a problem. Entire nallah beds are being concretized & so are the roads, leaving no place for exposed earth which is a must for thousands of species & act as a life cycle for them. I live in a complex where a stream now nallah which flows right along the boundary & some twelve years back there was lots of vegitation along it & even snakes used to flow & sometimes came in our buildings parking, as well birds like king fisher used to nest along. One fine day entire soil cover & vegetation along the nallah was gone & the entire bed is concretized & now no snake comes in our buildings nor is any kingfisher lives there!  Not once we thought while concerting the roads that where the hell species like earth worms & caterpillars will go if there is no exposed earth & its these species which makes food for smaller birds like sparrows, mainas & bulbuls! In the process of making driving ease for the millions of vehicles this in city we are driving out every bird, butterfly & insect out of the city, taking away charm of life! I really wonder what envo report says about this aspect of the city.

The air pollution is again we hardly think of in our daily routine rather we are so used to inhale this vehicles exhausts filled air that I doubt we will fail sick if we really get pure air to breathe now! Joke apart, the PMC web site complaints head does have noise pollution as a criterion for complaint, try it some time. Every marriage lawn along the river front from rajaram bridge to mhatre bridge (needless to say illegal), makes fireworks with loudest noise & smoke on every day for marriages of riches of the city & I am sure envo report has no cognizance about this pollution leave apart even making an effort for complaining on PMC web site by so called environment department! Has the envo report is watchful enough to list out the complaints for sound & air pollution & what has happened to them? Sure they don’t even knows about any such link or they just don’t care for this aspect of environment!

Public health, city aesthetics & public toilets comes next, where we all keep talking but no one does anything. Why can’t the envo report speaks strongly a remedy about making clean functioning public toilets & appeal corporates' to adopt them & do it fast!

These are just trifles, the more I think & write about environmental status of this city, the more I get frustrated though that’s not going to lead me any where yet one good outcome is it does make me to introspect me as an individual citizen, that what I can do by myself? Agreed there are some good officers & does some sincere efforts but compairing to what they are fighting with, these efforts are too inadequete is a fact! We are such a hypocrite society that we do every wrong thing & yet proclaims about our being perfect! Environment report is like MRI scan of the city, giving exact idea of its well being; but the joke is either we don’t have a qualified doctor who can read this MRI scan or the MRI machine is faulty as the report says all is well & in actual we can see with naked eyes that the patient’s organs has been damaged even externally & he is bleeding & dying! It’s high time to make serious effort to prepare envo report giving the same highest importance & try to gather realistic information about this aspect of city & then analyze it & not just stop there but suggest exact solutions to the problems which are there.

The first step is to make citizens aware about importance of the envo report & for that make envo report available on web site of PMC right from the draft level as by me this report is more important than the development plan of the city. Let our rulers understand that the future of their political carrier is not important than future of environment of this city!

Do mind once the environment is deteriorated then whatever we do & as Dr Kalam said why sparrows & squirrels even the human beings will flee from this city & they won’t come back! Like the famous Kishor Kumar’s song words “jindagike saffarme gujar jate hai jo mukkam, wo fir nahi aate”, then all the city will be left with is a tag of Smart City & some files in a dusty store room with the Environment Report heading on them! So its up to every citizen only, what course we choose for the future of this city which is our own future too!
Sanjay Deshpande 

Sanjeevani Dev.

Please do visit my blogs to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani !
 (Click the links below)

Social Side of Sanjeevani ! (Click link below)

For any of your complaints about city, log in at link below

Think Green, Think Life

1 comment:

  1. जनजग्रुती महत्वाची आहे.ते प्रत्येक नागरिकांचे कर्तव्य आहे.
    श्री.दांडगे साहेबराव


Please leave ur name, email id along with ur comment. It will help me to reply ur comment as well improve the blog as per ur suggestions if any.