Today (June 5) is World Environment Day. It is apt to put a few questions to ourselves – has the COVID lockdown opened our eyes to the environment that supports our very existence in Bengaluru.

What have we learnt? Do we want to do something about what we have learnt?

For Bengalureans, COVID  lockdown was and still is education for life. It put us through immense hardship and suffering. Yet it also proved to be good in many ways for the health of Bengaluru’s environment.

The lakes and streams became cleaner as the pollution sources were shut. The air became clear as the number of vehicles on the road came down. Bengaluru was looking cleaner and greener.

It thus proved the point beyond any doubt – that it is us, you and me, who are responsible for the sad state of affairs. It also proved the point – that it is us, you and me, who can together get it corrected.

To bring salubrious Bengaluru of yesteryears back for our children, we must put together our minds and work collectively. Let's celebrate biodiversity and save our environment.

Bengaluru used to be called a pensioners paradise – salubrious environment where everyone wanted to come, stay and flourish. That we did but didn’t stop there. We overexploited the city and its resources. We cut trees, encroached upon the lakes, pumped sewage into natural drainage systems, developed layouts where once there were water bodies and the list goes on. Today’s Bengaluru is the result of our immense greed. One in four of our children are asthmatic. 

 

There is light at the end of the tunnel. We can bring the glory back. The future of our city lies in the government, citizens and groups coming and working together to plan and execute developmental plans that are technically sound and environmentally sustainable. Collective wisdom is a virtue. As people’s platform Namma Bengaluru Foundation (NBF) has been giving voice to this collective wisdom towards saving the environment in general and lakes of Bengaluru in particular.

On this World Environment Day, let us Bengalureans take the pledge to do our best and save Namma Bengaluru. Let us segregate waste, plant more saplings, stop encroachment of lakes. Let's give our children a clean and green Bengaluru. Let us ‘Celebrate Biodiversity‘.

(Harish Kumar is the General Manager of Namma Bengaluru Foundation)