Experts object to PMC allowing housing projects in green belt

Neha Basudkar
Monday, 24 December 2018

The maximum emission — 19.43 lakh tonnes — was from residential categories, due to consumption of electricity and petroleum products. It is followed by the transport category, with 13.72 lakh tonnes, the industrial category, with 11.28 lakh tonnes, and 11.04 lakh tonnes from the commercial category. The rest was from other categories, including PMC.

PUNE: Earlier this year, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) had tabled a report stating that urbanisation has led to an almost 29 per cent increase in the emission of carbon and other greenhouse gases in the last six years, raising serious environmental concerns.

The report also mentions that the use of renewable energy has increased in the city as several environment-friendly measures have been taken. However, city-based environmentalists are of the opinion that the PMC on the one hand is pushing the societies to set up vermicompost, rainwater harvesting and other such sustainable projects, but on the other hand, they are allowing new projects to come up in the green belt of the city. 

According to the PMC’s Environment Status Report (ESR), carbon inventory chart was prepared in 2016-17 and found that greenhouse gas emission in the city was as high as 60,11,474 tonnes. The earlier carbon inventory, done by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in 2010-11, calculated that greenhouse gas emission in the city was 46,61,064.20 tonnes. 

The maximum emission — 19.43 lakh tonnes — was from residential categories, due to consumption of electricity and petroleum products. It is followed by the transport category, with 13.72 lakh tonnes, the industrial category, with 11.28 lakh tonnes, and 11.04 lakh tonnes from the commercial category. The rest was from other categories, as well as the PMC, which releases 2.19 lakh tonnes from power consumption for water treatment, sewage treatment and street lights. The electricity consumption in the city has increased for the residential sector but has reduced in the commercial and industrial sector.

The report has a positive side and mentions that the use of renewable energy has increased in Pune due as several environment-friendly measures taken by the citizens. As many as 58,997 properties have set up vermiculture projects, 32,915 properties have installed solar energy units and 10,485 properties have set up rainwater harvesting projects. The city generates 2,100 tonnes of solid waste every day, of which 1,078 tonnes is processed, and there are plans to set up seven plants to process the remaining amount.

But the city-based environmentalists do not agree with the report which mentions that the use of renewable energy has increased in the city. Environmentalist Satish Khot said, “I do not agree at all with the PMC report that the use of renewable energy is growing because the PMC is giving permission to the builders to construct residential and commercials by chopping the green cover while making compulsory for residential societies to do projects like rainwater harvesting, vermicompost, use of solar energy. Rather than doing all these things and wasting money, why not save the green cover and watersheds which will have no impact on the environment and money will also be saved.” 

Col Shashikant Dalvi, Pune Branch District Manager of Climate Reality Project, said, “Every citizen has got limitations in implementing the projects, but the civic body can, of course, take steps at micro level like making a tree census and plant trees necessary to combat carbon dioxide and other harmful gases, keep a control on vehicles and its emission and not to disrupt the green cover.”

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