The future looks gloomy for the citizens of Bengaluru, especially if this professor’s dire prediction about 2020 is anything to go by. However, it is in such times of despair that heroes emerge. Here are some ways you can participate in the crusade to #SaveBengaluru by making it greener. These simple, DIY green initiatives, facilitated by Bengaluru’s enterprising startups and NGOs are where each citizen can help make ours a greener, cleaner city.
One easy way to increase Bengaluru’s green cover significantly is to grow a forest. That may sound intimidating, but a startup from this city itself –Afforestt – promises that you’ll have to do almost nothing.
“We can create forests anywhere and everywhere, using materials available within a 100 km radius of the site,” says Shubhendu. They call themselves a “for profit social enterprise”.
A one-time payment will replace the lawn you had planned with a full-fledged forest in your backyard. Using advanced biotechnology, they can create the equivalent of a 100-year-old natural forest in just 10: and it’ll be a 100 percent organic. But the magic is that it is a proper, real forest – natural and self-sustaining – so you’ll have to do nothing to maintain it. A Bengaluru where corporate campuses, apartment buildings, schools all have their own forests will be greener and healthier.
For one, these forests are so rich in biodiversity and so dense that one can’t directly walk into it. Naturally, they support a lot of bird species, small animals and microorganisms. During the rainy season, not a single drop of water that falls into the forest evaporates because of the density, and since it’s naturally conserving rainwater, the ground table rises and has a great impact on fruits and vegetation.
Read more: On International Day of Forests, learn how to grow a forest anywhere
Their tagline is ‘Take Control of What You Eat’. As inspiring as that sounds, Purna Organics is not just going to make the individual citizens of Bengaluru healthier. They want to lead an “organic revolution” that will transform the city in terms of biodiversity, sustainable farming, and, reduce environmental pollution significantly. With a thousand individual small steps, the company has the ambitious plan, – which it is going to implement through an online marketplace for organic materials – to create a Bangalore with a farm in every home. Purna Organics wants you to start farming yourself, but they will help you and handhold you every step of the way. And that one commitment could reconnect Bengaluru with nature.
Read more: ‘We will bring urban gardens and organic products to all the parts of the country,’ Purna Organics
Indoor gardening, or just having a plant in your home, is one of the best and surest ways to clean up the air – a NASA study has supported this. And, as more homes opt for this, it could really reduce pollution and carbon dioxide levels in a city. However, a big factor that discourages many people from doing this is maintenance, and the effort one needs to put into a plant or a garden. One very basic problem that arises is how to keep the plant alive and healthy while you’re away on vacation.
Biotech startup EcoWorks has created a Wonder Gel that solves this for you – along with being a colourful and aesthetically appealing addition to the plant. The gel contains all essential nutrients and retains water, replacing the traditional soil potting and the need to water it regularly, as the gel does that for you.
Read More: Biotech startup Eco Works fights air pollution with beautiful indoor plants
On a slightly larger scale, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) has decided to target building design, but come up with a quick, simple, and free way to facilitate eco-friendly construction. Their answer is a downloadable software called EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies) where you can check how green your building is; the software will recommend design strategies to make it more efficient.
EDGE is a tool that uses the data and building information you provide to generate interactive solutions. The best part is that it is free and available on their website. Their innovation is that they don’t provide generalised solutions, but the tool contextualises its responses based on your location and aggregated data. Implementing these strategies will be complex: but at least each of us can check if our buildings are green with a single click!
Read More: How you can construct eco-friendly home by using an app
A group of enterprising Bangaloreans decided that enough was enough and took matters into their own hands when the drain near their homes started overflowing with shocking amounts of garbage. Drain clogging has a multitude of serious consequences, which includes waterlogging, increasingly toxic water supply, and soil pollution. The accumulation of waste is itself a problem – beyond aesthetics, it becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes and worse. Realising that if the BBMP wasn’t going to do its job, they’d have to do it themselves, this group of volunteers got their hands dirty – clearing out all the trash in the drains. Breaking an age-old Indian aversion to dealing with our own waste, you too can transform your locality into a clean one with just a few shovels and garbage bags!
These are only 5 of a 100 ways you could make your lifestyle greener.
Even something as small as segregating your waste could make a world of a difference. This seems implausible at first, but the reason Bengaluru is in the state it is today is because of its citizens’ indifference to the issues plaguing the community.
In our individualised worlds, we fail to realise that we are actually part of a community; in such a scenario, your behaviour will define how the community behaves. Whether it will destroy Bengaluru, or save it.