Essay G_Nidhi Shah

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Essay G

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  • 1. Do you think that the lifestyle of the inhabitants of your town or city reflects behavior that is in line with the concept of sustainable development? In your opinion, what should be improved? ESSAY G
  • 2. The meaning: sustainable development • The World Bank defines sustainable development as: ‘Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’. The concept of sustainable development has been broken down into three parts: 1. Social sustainability 2. Economical sustainability 3. Environmental sustainability
  • 3. The city: MUMBAI • Mumbai, India’s financial capital, is a huge city and the largest in India based on population. With a population of over 13 million the metropolitan is paradoxical in nature-It is the wealthiest city in India and has the highest GDP amongst the cities in south, west and central Asia. It is ranked 6th in the list of top 10 cities on billionaire count, yet, about 1/5 of the city’s population is living below poverty line, and more than 50% of the population live in slums. The island city also has a large population density of 22,937 people/ Mumbai skyline Antillia- The richest man in India’s residence in Mumbai Children in the monsoon rains in ‘Dharavi’, one of the largest slums in Mumbai and the world
  • 4. The people: ‘Mumbaikars’ • The people of Mumbai are popularly known as ‘Mumbaikars’. Indians come to settle in Mumbai to make their dreams come true: whether it is to become the next big businessman, a glamorous actress in the ‘Bollywood’ film industry or a small town student coming to achieve higher education from renowned institutions, or a villager coming to start the all famous pani-puri stall on the streets, or simply a common man just seeking new opportunities, this island city attracts migrants from all over India thus making it the melting point of many communities and cultures. Mumbai caters to everybody’s needs and somehow has also managed to fit everyone in but, this is being taken for granted and needs to change in the interest of the city and its present and future inhabitants. Bombay Stock exchange Roadside pani-puri food vendor Actresses in the entertainment industry People from various communities at the Mumbai railway stations
  • 5. The lifestyle: does it reflect behaviour in line with the concept of sustainable development?...NO • There is excessive wastage and pollution of resources like land, water, food, fuel and energy by the rich while, the poor have no resources to use much less to conserve! • There is a colossal social and economic gap between the rich and the poor in the city. Dean, School of Social Science at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, R N Sharma, said: “It is true that Mumbai has a layer of silky rich people and a huge middle class followed by the lower class and the poor…” There is no social or economic equality present among the city inhabitants. • With the ever increasing population of the city there is a lot of burden on the natural resources and the environment and the city developments are also unable to meet the needs of the present. Eventually with the present amount of misuse and wastage of resources it will barely sustain the generations to come.
  • 6. The problem: infrastructure • The pipelines in Mumbai are more than a 100 years old. They are corroded and cracked at places. In congested parts, the sewage lines and the water lines run together and leakages contaminate drinking water. • Mumbai is a concrete jungle. There is inadequate infrastructure or space for parks and open spaces. This results in reduction in oxygen levels and lack of recreational facilities. • More than half of the Mumbai’s population i.e. the slum dwellers live in very small areas with no proper amenities like water, food, electricity and in unhygienic conditions and it adversely affects their health and quality of life . • Insufficient transport network - The Mumbai Suburban Railway has the highest passengers density in the world of 6.3 million people travelling daily but even though new trains have been added they are not sufficient to comfortably fit in all the passengers. Overfull trains during peak time-people hanging on the train coach exits Old pipelines running through the garbage dump in slums
  • 7. The problem: pollution • The quality of life in Mumbai has taken downturn in the last 5 years due to increasing levels of air, water and noise pollution. • There are 674 vehicles/kilometer of road length. The roads in Mumbai are not big enough to fit in so many vehicles. The roads spot innumerable potholes which cause discomfort while travel. Several toxic gases, such as nitrogen dioxide, are emitted during traffic congestions when the vehicles are not in a state of motion and burn more fuel for less distances. Also due to widespread construction work, dust and other harmful particles are emitted into the air thus causing air pollution. • Wastes and garbage thrown into the water bodies of Mumbai cause water pollution thus endangering the aquatic ecosystems. • Mumbai is one of the noisiest cities in the world. The noise due to excessive honking due to persistent traffic, of burning crackers in festivals like ‘Diwali’ and loud music during festivals cause noise pollution, which increases the risk of disturbed sleeping patterns and high blood pressure. Mumbai covered in smog Waste washed on to the shore by the sea
  • 8. The problem: festivals • In Mumbai a lot of festivals are celebrated. The celebration of some unintentionally harm the environment. It is not that people should stop celebrating these festivals in totality but should celebrate them wisely so that there is no adverse effect on the environment. • Diwali- Burning of crackers in the festival cause air and noise pollution . • Holi- A lot of water is wasted in playing holi and most of the colours used for playing are not organic. The colours mix with the water and when it finally reaches the sea it contaminates the seawater as well. Hence an effort to use organic colours should be made and less water should be wasted. • Ganesh Chaturthi- Massive idols of Lord Ganesh are immersed into the water. Most of the colours and substances used to make the idols are not organic and they cause water pollution and loss of marine life when these idols are immersed in water. A rule should be passed with the effect that only organic substances should be used in the making of these idols and it will be a win-win situation for the inhabitants and the environment. Diwali- burning of crackers Idol immersion in Ganesh Chaturthi
  • 9. The root cause • The government and the municipal corporation of the city- Most of the blame goes to them since there are corrupt officials at almost all levels. How can one better their city when the people who run it and are its caretakers are the ones who break and allow others to break laws and cause harm to the city??? Whether it is littering the streets, missing the red light at a traffic signal or clearing a proposal to make a new building that possibly goes against city environment laws, many times such things are treated with indifference where a bribe of a few hundreds to a few million Rupees can get one all the clearances they need? For e.g.: Adarsh housing society is a housing complex in the heart of Mumbai city constructed for the welfare of serving retired personnel of the defense services as requested by the Chief Minister of Maharashtra. The construction of the building resulted in a complete scam. The scam is notable for the fact that through active involvement of successive officials in many crucial posts blatant transgressions were made, including obtaining No Objection Certificates from Army towards construction of a the building in a sensitive zone. The society also violated the Indian Environment ministry rules. As the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India to the President of India in 2011 put it, "The episode of Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society reveals how a group of select officials, placed in key posts, could subvert rules and regulations in order to grab prime government land- a public property- for personal benefit."
  • 10. The constraints • Space constraint & population explosion-The population of Mumbai is larger than some countries in the world. Mumbai has a very high population density such that it makes meeting the people’s demands sustainably difficult. • The unplanned and unauthorised growth of the city makes it difficult to replace old pipelines which pose a risk of contaminating drinking water. • Heritage structures of Mumbai-Most of Mumbai’s buildings are decades old and the city has a lot of heritage structures and converting them to green buildings is a difficult task. • Two different worlds in one city-the rich and the poor The gap is so huge the some elite rich inhabitants of Mumbai living in the posh neighbourhoods do not even know the other side to their city, one with extreme levels of poverty and mass existence of slums where children are craving for even one meal a day. How can you correct something that is wrong when you are not aware of the fault itself? • Although the city is progressing economically, the ever-increasing inflation is highly affecting even basic necessities like food such that their prices have been rising so high that even the middle class is feeling a burden of it thus, leaving the poor completely out of hope and also negating the positive effect of economic prosperity which could have helped the poor rise from poverty and steadily bridge the gap between the rich and poor.
  • 11. The constraints: the government & the city municipal corporation Infrastructure- • Slow clearances from ministries, thus extending project durations twice to thrice its original time may cause cancellation of the projects midway since, the extension of time may decrease the profitability and the projects may no longer be feasible. Hence although steps towards sustainable development have been taken but many projects have not managed to progress from ink to reality. • Government projects also move at a slow pace such that it not only defeats the purpose of the project but also results in rise in costs due to delay, which in turn burdens the taxpayers. For e.g.: The Bandra-Worli Sea link a landmark project to curb traffic in the city took 10 years to complete in comparison to the projected 5 years causing a cost overrun of about 430%. Bandra-Worli Sea link
  • 12. The solutions: outline rules & laws • Mumbai is relatively different from various metropolitans in India and around the world. The government needs to firstly formulate a plan specific to the nature of the city accommodating the sustainable development module. • Drinking water is a basic necessity and should be clean and potable for everybody. Use of man power and machinery whichever practical should be undertaken to repair water pipelines or replace old ones. • Increase number of personnel and the efficiency of civic authorities- The authorities numbers need to be inline with the population. Although fines are to be imposed for activities such as littering, most of the times there is no official present to fine people when such rules are being broken and hence the violations continue. Even though in the initial phase if additional personnel are stationed to oversee problems like littering it will be beneficial in the long run. • Pass laws that promote sustainable development and shift towards renewable sources of energy. • Fine amounts should be increased for violation of environment laws. • Form a governing body to oversee work done by the civic bodies and keep a check that the city laws are actually followed and implemented.
  • 13. The solutions: drives & population control • The municipal corporation of the city although has flaws, has also taken efforts to take the city towards sustainable development through drives like ‘Clean Mumbai Green Mumbai’. This effort needs to be consistent and just turned up a notch to get required results. • Population Control– With any amount of solutions the most impact will be through population control. The population of the city inhabitants is fast increasing and getting out of control. Every single day about 300 people come to settle in Mumbai and hence the city is running out of space and resources to offer everyone. A few years ago Dharavi in Mumbai was the largest slum in Asia. A couple of years ago four other slums in Mumbai surpassed this population. The authorities should have nipped the problem in the bud. Slum redevelopment projects are ongoing presently, the authorities should strictly disallow the start or growth of new slums and reduce the new people settling in the city through appropriate laws and measures.
  • 14. The solutions: individual efforts The situation in Mumbai is like the one where one cannot clap with one hand alone. The citizens and the officials need to work together on this with a synchronized effort. • Inhabitants should be educated to use the resources judicially and they should consciously buy and use environment friendly products. • People travelling in private vehicles should carpool whenever possible so that it minimizes traffic. • Start using bicycles and greener energy saving vehicles for private transport. • The government should give tax rebate incentives for people volunteering to help in the city’s sustainable development community projects. • Wherever possible at offices, schools and colleges, work should get digitalised such that minimum paper is used so trees can be saved. • Minimize wastage- Extra food and beverages at hotels, restaurants, weddings and parties should not be thrown away but given to the poor to eat. • Garbage should be divided into two parts in the beginning only at homes, one that is recyclable and the other not so it saves time and energy.
  • 15. The solutions: the government & the city municipal corporation • Awareness- Spread awareness of sustainable development. Children and the youth should be educated in schools and colleges about it. The government should make it mandatory for students to volunteer for such activities as part of the curriculum and get them involved from a young age. • Create good infrastructure- For a healthy sustainable life the city needs good infrastructure and amenities and such projects should be prioritised and completed fast. A good network of public transport system should be set up which can manage the public load comfortably. This will encourage people to commute in the same and avoid private transportation like cars which will in turn reduce pollution, traffic congestions and the burden on the roads. • Give incentives to businesses, organisations and even households to help save energy and conserve the environment. • Increase green cover by planting tress and constructing gardens on building roofs to overcome space constraint on the ground and protect the existing green cover and mangroves in the city.
  • 16. The solutions: think different! • Transport- To ease traffic congestion and pollution the Bandra-Worli Sea link, the monorail, and metro train projects have been undertaken but these are not viable in all parts of the city. At such times one should harness the resource the city has in abundance-sea water. For areas lying next the sea transport can be carried out in ferries thus reducing the burden on the land. For e.g.: The ‘Queens Necklace’ area in South Mumbai. • Convert the problem into the solution- Mumbai generates 7,025 metric tons of waste per day (MTPD). Mumbai is running out of space for waste disposal. There is an urgent needs to treat and dispose this waste safely. Using integrated technology Mumbai can find a use to this waste by converting the waste to energy thus reducing the burden on coal and other non-renewable sources of energy. With this Mumbai can counter two problems with one solution; reduction in waste quantities at the time of final disposal and creation of energy which will help meet the demand for energy in the city. Solar power driven ferries Queens Necklace, Mumbai
  • 17. The solutions: think different! • In today’s day Mumbai’s inhabitants have no time for the city, with the growing global competitiveness in the future the prospects for dedicating time for the city sustainance programs will be further limited. So if the government is unable to reach out to the Mumbaikars, they should find a way for the citizens to come to them. All the city roads and streets are filled with political banners, if these are replaced with those urging a step towards conserving the environment it will spread awareness amongst the inhabitants. A drive for an environment friendly city should be advertised in every corner of the city. On average a Mumbaikar spends about two hours everyday in the city traffic. When the problems are staring you in your face all the time, one will consciously or unconsciously get affected by them and take steps to curb them even if it is in the smallest ways like not wasting water or fuel. This effort from even a percent of the 1.3 million people will make a significant difference. Political banners envelop every corner of the city
  • 18. The first steps: infrastructure & pollution control • Green buildings numbers steadily growing- There are about 295 registered green building projects in Mumbai, most of which are in various construction phases, all amounting to 229 million sq ft. space. The city ahead of its various counterparts in the country is leading the Green Building Movement in the country. As the numbers steadily grow these buildings can demonstrate energy savings of 40-50%, water savings of 20-30% and various intangible benefits. • Interior design and architecture are turning green as professionals and clients are becoming more aware and sensitive to the environment. • Pollution free drives from citizens- Hindu Janajagruti Samiti had taken up a ‘Pollution-free Mumbai’ drive. The drive was commendable and received overwhelming response from Mumbai residents. • Plastic bags are avoided or to be paid for at retail shops. Paper bags and recycling are encouraged.
  • 19. The first steps: transport, energy & healthcare • The public transport in Mumbai is now required to run on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) instead of petrol or diesel. This has reduced pollution in the city tremendously considering 75% of all motarised trips in Mumbai are through public transport. • New Siemens manufactured trains introduced in the transport network are safe, reduce carbon footprint and save energy by 40% and reduce annual energy costs by 5 million Rupees/ train. • Some Mumbai inhabitants have started using bicycles for transportation instead of cars. • Top medical care provider, the ‘Seven Hills Hospital’ situated in Mumbai is the largest hospital in India. On account of a partnership with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, it reserves 20% of it beds for the underprivileged at fees comparable to public hospitals. City cabs running on CNG Futuristic green auto rickshaws
  • 20. The future • The spirit of Mumbai never dies- It is a city that never breaks down whether it is from nature’s fury (floods on 26th July, 2005), or an act of humans (serial bomb blasts- 13 July 2011, 11 July 2008, 12th March 1993 and terrorist attacks 26th November, 2008), when the time comes the city people always come together and unite and meet the challenge as one big family irrespective of anyone’s social status, religion or age. • We just need to work this unity into a force that can be channeled not only in times of distress but also for the welfare and sustainable development of our city so that the future generation not only gets to see what we have today but even better! • Our city has given us a lot and now its payback time and surely with a little conscious effort and push from the municipal authorities, NGOs and the people themselves, Mumbai will work wonders. The first steps towards sustainable development have already been taken, now the sooner we learn to walk today the faster we can run tomorrow!
  • 21. Thank you -Nidhi Shah