World Environment Day, Everyday
People in Coastal Mangaluru have just experienced unprecedented severe water scarcity during several days this summer. This grave situation had sent the Administration into a tizzy, making desperate efforts to source available water and distribute it to thirty residents. Major industrial establishments were forced to reduce their water consumption and in most cases had to partially shut down operations. Many educational Institutions sent their students’ home as essential water requirements could not be met.
“Vanamahotsava” observed on one day each year may be well intentioned, but its observation by ALL should be not mere symbolic ‘Photo Op’ occasions, but needs to be much more meaningfully implemented. Even as we celebrate World Environment Day with utmost pride, we must ask ourselves if that is enough because the contribution made by planting trees just on and around the 5th of June is very little. The damage already made is deep, and now is the time to dedicate ourselves to concerted action.
A mere two decades ago, the old city of Mangaluru was clad in sprawling green cover, provided by the glorious crown of abundant coconut trees and other flora. We have succeeded in leaving the coastal region of Mangaluru bereft of its luxuriate flora, as a consequence of our indiscriminate race for so-called “urbanization” at the cost of preservation of our precious environment, for posterity.
At the root of all this destruction, emanating from a wholly lopsided view and a mad rush for ‘economic activity’ by a set of vested interests, aided and abetted by an ‘imperious Administration’ inspired by self-seeking political leadership, is a grotesquely distorted model of so-called ‘growth’. Most of us have bought into this ‘development’ dream and never think of questioning what is happening around us. This is despite it all being in direct conflict with the vital need to preserve and nurture our precious Environment.
Not only must our future decisions and actions mitigate the onslaught on our already over-exploited environment, but every effort must be made to reverse past mistakes and poorly considered decisions. One or two such decisions are here below for us to try to rectify –
a) Siting of Petrol Pumps at Kadri Hill Park:- A number of Petrol pumps have been built in recent times along the stretch of “HIGHWAY N.H.17/66” around the KPTC junction to the Padua College entrance. In the case of the outlet set up by a ‘Navratna’ PSU, a wholly unfair decision was taken, to allot park space that belonged to the Horticulture Department from prized land that had been acquired from land owners in Kadri Hill in the 70’s to make a ‘Government Park’ and, in reality, far in excess of what is actually needed, to M/s MRPL to set up yet another petrol bunk.
b) Proposed Musical Fountain:- The ‘Sangeetha Karanji’ is yet another hare brained idea when the city of Mangaluru is thirsty for potable water and in most other cities where fountains were once providing some amusement, have all gone dry. There is no water even in fire hydrants. In Mangaluru, the city planners have not provided fire hydrants even where clusters of commercial and residential high-rises have come up. In this context, the idea of a musical fountain is completely out of place.
CONCLUSION:- It is strongly recommended that the Dy. Commissioner, Dakshina Kannada review the case of Horticultural Park Land allotted to M/s MRPL at Kadri Hill and take Suo moto action to reverse the earlier allotment made and restore the land to the Horticulture Department to create a Park on what was land acquired to make a public Park. Until that is done, trees must be planted in the non-built-up sections of the 1.5 acres presently wrongly in the hands of M/s MRPL. Let us take World Environment Day and every day after it, more seriously.
by Cyril David Pereira