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Home / Pune News / Decline in open spaces in Pune since 2005: ESR

Decline in open spaces in Pune since 2005: ESR

The report mentions that rise in number of private ownership of vehicles, haphazard urban growth, environmental pollution due to building construction

pune Updated: Aug 02, 2020 16:31 IST
Nadeem Inamdar
Nadeem Inamdar
Hindustan Times, Pune
The overall change, according to experts, has put heavy burden on the basic infrastructure, amenities and green cover of the city.
The overall change, according to experts, has put heavy burden on the basic infrastructure, amenities and green cover of the city.(HIMANSHU ATRE/HT PHOTO)

The 2019-2020 Environmental status report (ESR) released by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) on Friday has brought out unpalatable reality of rapid, large scale concretisation across the city, resulting in gobbling up of several open spaces during the past 15 years.

The satellite images published in ESR maps from 2005 till 2020 clearly shows the yellow cover (identified for open spaces and shown on map) is on decline whereas red spots indicating construction activity has drastically increased. The overall change, according to experts, has put heavy burden on the basic infrastructure, amenities and green cover of the city.

The newly added 23 villages, as per ESR, has compounded infrastructural issues of the city, further adding burden of concretisation in suburban areas as seen from the map.

The ESR report was put up before the PMC general body (GB) on Friday wherein geographical maps related to urbanisation and loss of green cover have been incorporated in the report. During the past one decade, the urban open spaces which were supposed to be reserved for gardens, parks and urban forests have rapidly disappeared in the concrete jungle.

Currently, the city has two development plans - one for the old areas of city and the second for the new city which includes 23 merged villages. A provision for open spaces for public amenities was made, but the maps reveal that those public utilities have been occupied by concrete structures, which according to the civil society members was causing pressure on public amenities of the city.

The report mentions that rise in number of private ownership of vehicles, haphazard urban growth, environmental pollution due to building construction activities was causing several environmental damage to the city. The report states that residential purpose of land use was the highest in the city which led to scouting of new lands for residential purposes in the newly merged villages. The land use for hill-cum-biodiversity park was a negligible 7.35%, while the land for residential purpose stood at 38.41 %.

“The report has satellite image maps which reflect the 15-year period changes in the city and the newly merged villages with the PMC. There has been a lot of urbanisation and it is not only in the city, but also the peripheral area which are witnessing heavy urbanisation recently. The report has been prepared in alignment with the sustainable development goals stated by the UN,” said PMC environment officer Mangesh Dighe.

PMC commissioner Vikram Kumar in his preface, said, “It is essential to preserve biodiversity and natural resources while carrying out development activities. PMC aims at carrying out holistic development in the city and ESR report reflects the current environmental status of the city.”

Ecologist Madhav Gadgil said, “City’s open spaces and green cover is on decline for many years and this is due to a powerful lobby which pressurises government and authorities.”

“Pune has lost considerable green cover and its public spaces have been taken over through encroachments by business interests. The government buckles under the pressure of corporate nexus which is a very powerful lobby behind environmental destruction in the city. This group encroaches on public space, destroys vegetation for financial gain and they don’t have any care or concern for the environment. We are already into an alarming state where nature is being destroyed with ferocity by human greed,” said Gadgil said.

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