Submitted by alvin on Sun, 2016-06-26 10:30 Bengaluru: This year’s record summer temperatures in Bengaluru were just a portent of what is in store for the city. According to researchers, by 2020, 93pc of the city will be taken over by urban cover. Worse, the city would be choking on greenhouse gases rendering it virtually unliveable. This alarming assessment by the country’s Indian Institute of Sciences (IISc) shouldn’t be hard to visualise for those who have watched the city’s descent into chaos. Once famed for its gardens and lakes, Bengaluru is now bursting at the seams due to unplanned and reckless urbanisation which, according to the IISc researchers, will be its undoing. According to researchers Dr TV Ramachandra, senior scientist and professor, Energy and Wetland Research Centre, CES, IISc, and Bharath V Aithal, by 2020 about 93 percent of the city’s landscape would have been urbanised. “Geovisualisation of likely land use in 2020 reveal that Bengaluru’s landscape will be filled with urban cover. There will be drastic reduction in open space and green cover,” say the researchers in a paper published in the journal Current Science. “The region will be rich with greenhouse gases, non-resilient and unliveable depriving the city dwellers of clean air, water and environment,” say the two in their study attributing the collapse to unrealistic concentrated development activities, loss of natural resources, encroachment and destruction and pollution of lakes, depleting green cover, and increase in carbon footprint. “The unrealistic concentrated development activities, with an impetus on rapid industrialisation, has resulted in severe change in land cover changes with serious environmental degradation,” states the paper, adding that between1973-2016, there was an increase in “concretisation or increase in surface by 105 per cent”, resulting in decline in “vegetation by 88 per cent” and the “wetland by 79 per cent”. Vanishing trees and lakes Pointing to their earlier study, the two researchers say that through quantification of number of trees they found that there are 1.5 million trees in the city for the existing population of 9.5 million. “This amounts to one tree for seven people. This is insufficient even to sequester respiratory carbon, which is about 540-900 gms per person per day. In future, there will be drastic reduction in open space and green cover,” the study says. Citing their study in 2015-16 of 105 lakes, the paper says that 95 pc of these water bodies have been encroached for illegal construction and 90 per cent are sewage fed. “The increasing fish mortality these days highlights the contamination and irresponsible management of water bodies,” the study says, pointing at how lake catchment areas are being used as dumping yards for municipal solid waste or building debris in turn leading to the pollution of groundwater table. “This has enriched nitrate levels in ground water resources. This is affecting the health of residents with ailments like kidney failure and cancer being high,” the report says. The study also takes to task the construction of buildings in a few wards of BBMP which, the researchers argue, are unsuitable to the tropical climate, resulting in increased consumption of power in the city between 14,000 to 17,000 units per annum compared to 1300-1500 units of eco- friendly structures. The problem is further compounded by the increasing emission from the transport sector and unplanned disposal of solid-waste as it contributes to increasing carbon foot print. The paper says that the unplanned cities not only contribute to climate change, but are also vulnerable to climate change and extreme weather and has advocated on improvement of urban sustainability through innovations.