Bengaluru over the last four decades (1973 to 2014) has seen a 925% increase in concrete area and the city has lost 78% of its vegetation and depletion of 79% water bodies and the increase in temperature is directly attributed to the loss of vegetation and water bodies, says an IISc study.
Bengaluru had enjoyed a cool climate evident from the earlier records. During the 1800s, the Karnataka Gazetteers show that in the month of May, the highest temperature was 14-16 degree centigrade.
“Today in the month of March, we have reached 34-35 degree Celsius, in April we have reached 38 degrees, which is worrisome,” says Dr. T.V. Ramachandra from the Centre for Ecological Sciences, IISc.
“Coming to the green cover in the city, we have about 14,78,000 trees and 95 lakh population. For every 7 persons there is one tree. But when we look at the amount of carbon-dioxide we let off when people respire, for every person depending on the age it ranges from 540 (elderly) to 900 (youths) gm per person per day.
Similarly one hectare of trees removes about 6-8 tonnes of CO2 from the system in a year. By that calculation, ideally every person should have 8 trees, but what we have here is for every 7 persons there is only one tree, the reverse of it which is alarmingly dangerous. If we look at well managed cities like Chandigarh or Gandhinagar, for every person there are 4 trees and in Nasik for every person there are two trees,” said Mr. Ramachandra.
Deforestation is a serious issue threatening the world attributing to global warming and climate change. 280 districts in India under drought including major districts from Karnataka is a clear indication.
The study reveals one of the ways to deal with climate change is increasing tree cover, but unfortunately throughout the globe, deforestation is gaining momentum. The Western Ghats, one of the biodiversity hotpots among the 35 global hotpots in the world have seen deforestation to the extent of 45 to 50% over the last four decades, says study.
“We have done studies in Uttara Kannada districts, Shivamogga and Chikkamagalur, for example in Uttara Kannada districts where the 65% in 70s area under evergreen forests today is under 32%. Similar situation of 45 to 50% decline in Shivamogga and Chikkamagalur districts, we have noticed when we prepared the report on status of forests in Shivamogga and Chikkamagalur last year,” Mr. Ramachandra said.