Urban flooding has become a very common occurrence in the recent past. Lakes in cities like Hyderabad and other cities, usually spill out dirty, foamy water on the roads and hamper traffic. This is a testimony of mismanagement of urban water bodies. The spewing lakes show the imbalance and over burdened water bodies in cities.
Cities have overly pressurized the limited resources available to the residents. Migrant labourers, students, growing MNCs have increased the population that survive on the resources in and around the periphery of cities. Dumping of untreated water, waste material, garbage in lakes and other water bodies has caused eutrophication in the lakes.
Eutrophication is too much of nutrients pumped into an ecosystem that cause algal blooms. Algal blooms are the green velvety sheet of algae that we see in our nearby lakes and rivers. These sheets of algae cause a blockage in the way of sunlight reaching microorganisms, fishes, plankton in the lower strata of the lakes. This exacerbates the oxygen shortage and kills water animals. This further increase the biological oxygen demand in water bodies, making it unfit for consumption.
Water bodies can be anything from lakes, river fronts, lagoons, back waters and other water bodies. Water bodies in urban areas maintain a hydrological balance by absorbing rain water, recharging ground water and therefore preventing water logging and flooding. Concrete and cement roads and pavements have blocked the natural absorption of water in the recharge table below earth’s surface.
Urban ideas have infringed the nature’s ways of management.
Water bodies like rivers, lakes are a source of water for the entire city. They filter out the dirt in the water by the natural process. Water bodies help the cities in managing effects of climate change such as, Island effect and flash floods. By hosting a plethora of flora and fauna water bodies also preserve ecology. Such areas within and outside the city can further the causes of tourism, religious activities etc.
Urban floodings are caused by meteorological factors like heavy rainfall cyclonic storms thunderstorms, cloudbursts. It may also be caused by hydrological factors and of water not being absorbed by impermeable surfaces. Human factors like overuse of land, land encroachment, encroachment of wetlands, illegal sand mining, creation of riverfronts also cause a barrier in the natural system of handling excess water .
Various schemes and guidelines of the government exist that create curves and restrictions on use of water in cities. For example, the wetland conservation rules 2017, these rules are to conserve aquatic ecosystems sustainably. Another plan is national plan for conservation of aquatic ecosystems which prohibits encroachment of wetlands.
The atal mission for rejuvenation and urban transformation in at providing clean water supply and recharging groundwater levels. Further notifying wetlands as ramsar sites will increase their monitoring and assessment. Which will help in preventing illegal encroachment. Guidelines for illegal sand mining must be monitored and enforced.
Planning by urban local bodies and panchayats is needed to curb the issues of water bodies encroachment and urban flooding. But due to lack of finances the state government is unable to do much. The finance commission at the centre has recommended the evolution of more finances to further the cause of improvement in cities. Sustainable living is more important than mere surviving. Proper treatment of water in plants and handling of wet and solid waste is also essential.
Therefore we must, as citizens, focus on changing our attitudes and maintaining a clean environment around us and not just expect change to happen on its own. Because as mahatma Gandhi said, “be the change you want to see in the world”.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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