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Your Space: Pune housing societies should adopt Miyawaki Model

Hindustan Times has been covering initiatives taken by organisations and activist to make the city greener and underline the relevance for urban green spaces. With the city facing increasing pressure from expanding populations and limited resources, taking immediate steps to increase the green cover is important.

pune Updated: Sep 10, 2017 17:11 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,housing societies,Miyawaki model
Shailesh Valvaikar of Vasundhara Swachhata Abhiyan explain to participants and citizens the various aspects and benefits of Japanese Miyawaki model forestation method.(SANKET WANKHADE/HT PHOTO)

Your story on transformation of a barren patch to a mini forest (Miyawaki Model helps Pune citizens turn a barren hill slope to a mini-forest, September 3, 2017) was a refreshing read. I would like to commend you on your efforts in bringing inspiring stories to your readers. It was heartening to see a group of talented professionals from various fields coming together for the noble cause of conservation. The article provoked me to visit the site mentioned in your article and get in touch with the volunteers of Vasundhara Swachhata Abhiyan (VSA) who have been tirelessly working to increase the green cover in our beloved city.

On actual site visit, I could experience how a mini forest could be created in a limited space of 1200 sq ft by using locally sourced and easily available resources such as coconut fibre and garden waste from societies. I witnessed the diversity in terms of mix of trees, climbers and shrubs to create a five layer forest-like ecosystem and also noticed the presence of various bird species, butterflies and bees, thereby fulfilling one of the primary intentions of the project as explained by the volunteers of VSA.

As someone who is vexed with environmental issues cropping up everywhere, I connected with VSA volunteers to understand how I could participate in various conservation activities. This is a common question running across the minds of well-meaning citizens who have the will but are unsure of how they can contribute. The primary motivation of creating this forest, as explained by VSA volunteer Ravindra Bhosale, was to create a model which can be frugally and easily replicated by anyone who wishes to take up the cause of ecological restoration.

Some benefits of this method of restoration are water conservation, support for biodiversity, high success rate, self-sustenance after two years. Through further discussion I understood how VSA has been able to keep up sustained conservation efforts with support from Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) garden department. PMC provides support by ensuring steady supply of water tanker to barren hills throughout the year and donates saplings of native varieties for monsoon plantations. In my opinion, VSA is doing an excellent job of showing people the amazing things that can happen when citizens actively work with the administration to solve local issues.

In their efforts of afforestation, this people’s movement faces challenges such as dwindling number of regular volunteers, wild fires instigated by miscreants often causing setbacks to conservation efforts and hostile weather conditions. Apart from forestation activities, VSA volunteers have taken up other environmental projects like river rejuvenation through adoption of a sustainable lifestyle, zero budget natural farming to combat effects of climate change through promotion of sustainable farming practices, honey bee conservation etc. On asking how I as a citizen can contribute, VSA volunteers were more than happy to share the know-how of the forestation project.

Responsible utilisation of garden waste, creation of urban green pockets, vermiculture projects, adoption of sustainable lifestyle are all means of contributing to the cause of making Pune greener and restoring its once famed natural beauty. Looking at the quiet green patch of the hill in an otherwise crowded city has left me with a sense of wonder of what could be achieved when good people come together for a shared common cause.

Tanvi Kulkarni, Baner

Variety of articles on green initiatives

I appreciate Hindustan Times’s focus on Swachh Pune and the informative articles covering different aspects and voluntary groups in the field of waste management. Your recent article covering the immersion process, soon after the visarjan was particularly interesting and exhaustive (Whopping 2.19 lakh idols immersed in PMC tanks, 7 September 2017).

We six members of the Wanawadi Residents Forum (WRF) participated as volunteers at “Nirmalya, River clean Up “ event at Katraj Ghat, organised by SWaCH on August 31, 2017.

It was an amazing experience. The entire place was buzzing with so much energy and devotion. Groups of citizens brought Ganesha idols in all sizes. But what was appreciable was that they all willingly allowed us to remove the garland and flower from their idols. Some of them promised to deposit them after the final aarti, and almost all of them had brought bags full of nirmalaya from their homes to be given to SWaCH.

There were hoards of volunteers, from Cummins, MIT College, Bharatiya Vidyapeeth, NSS students, Swachh and of course, we. It was most satisfying to realise that our rivers were spared of pollution from dumping of tonnes and tonnes of nirmalaya, and many thousands of PoP idols. This is a very positive shift for Pune.

Maithili Manakawad

Citizens should cooperate with poonawalla plan

Kudos to Adar Poonawalla for the noble project of clean city. We can see pickup trucks collecting garbage from well designed bins fixed on footpaths. However, citizens should cooperate by putting garbage in separate dry and wet bins, not to place garbage by sides, which is then littered by stray dogs.

Also other corporates should initiate such projects for the benefit of society.

DA Shaikh, Vimannagar

Pune’s garbage management: Are we dealing with symptoms and not the cause?

The reports in Hindustan Times about the handling of garbage in our city is disturbing for any sensitive person. Swachh and PMC staff are trying hard to manage the day-to-day garbage but their hands are not sufficient for the quantity and speed the garbage gets dumped daily. It is so inhumane to see them working tirelessly day in day out. Festivals approach and they have nightmares with huge quantity of garbage cleaning. Where is all garbage going? Hindustan Times has taken an overview by talking to residents, citizen forums and activists. Garbage is indeed a perennial problem of all peri-urban areas. Puneites are proud of being selected as a “future Smart city”, a mission that is close to the heart of our PM.

Hindustan Times also reported that “Pune’s waste to biogas strategy fails” and that biogas plants are running under capacity. Head of PMC solid waste management department, Suresh Jagtap confirmed to Hindustan Times that these 25 plants are not working to their installed capacity and five plants are out of order. With a total capacity to process 125 tonnes of wet waste per day, these plants are running under capacity and are able to process only 80 tonnes per day. Civic officials admitted that the administration is being overwhelmed by the rapidly escalating quantity of garbage in the city.

When you read all such news carefully one realises a few most important issues relating to garbage. Are we treating the symptoms and not the cause?

* Garbage is unmanageable in peri-urban areas more than the city centres, although, garbage management has become an issue all over the city.

* Lack of awareness or unwillingness among citizens / Swachh workers to separate garbage at source.

* Lack of responsibility from citizens / society towards their civic responsibilities. Majority of population feels that once tax is paid, they are eligible to throw garbage at will.

* Lack of implementation of laws, regulations and policies on solid waste management.

* Lack of upgradation or use of latest technology for solid waste management. Probably the systems are old and have not been upgraded or modified for years.

* Most importantly, lack of awareness / negligence on part of ward level or local level corporators where the priority should be focused on health and hygiene of the society than the beautification.

* Lack of staff / manpower / infrastructure for managing solid waste. According to civic authorities, they face practical difficulties if the infrastructure is decentralised. They feel having large or medium size plants with centralised will work effectively.

Shaileja Deshpande, Aundh

First Published: Sep 10, 2017 17:10 IST