Wetlands: Kidney of Bangalore’s Landscape

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T.V. Ramachandra and Bharath H. Aithal

Citation: T.V. Ramachandra and Bharath H. Aithal, 2015. Wetlands: Kidneys of Bangalore’s Landscape, National wetlands, 37:12-16.

Wetlands constitute the most productive ecosystems with a wide array of goods and services. These ecosystems serve as life support systems; serve as habitat for a variety of organisms including migratory birds for food and shelter. They aid in bioremediation and hence aptly known as ‘kidneys of the landscape’. Major services include flood control, wastewater treatment, arresting sediment load, drinking water, protein production, and more importantly recharging of aquifers apart from aiding as sinks and climate stabilizers. The wetlands provide a low cost way to treat the community’s wastewater, while simultaneously functioning as wild fauna sanctuary, with public access. These ecosystems are valuable for education and scientific endeavors due to rich biodiversity.

Bangalore city (Karnataka State, India) has been experiencing unprecedented urbanisation and sprawl due to concentrated developmental activities in recent times with impetus on industrialisation for the economic development of the region. This concentrated growth has resulted in the increase in population and consequent pressure on infrastructure, natural resources and ultimately giving rise to a plethora of serious challenges such as climate change, enhanced green-house gases emissions, lack of appropriate infrastructure, traffic congestion, and lack of basic amenities (electricity, water, and sanitation) in many localities, etc. Temporal data analysis reveals that that there has been a growth of 632% in urban areas of Bangalore across 38 years (1973 to 2010). Urban heat island phenomenon is evident from large number of localities with higher local temperatures. The study reveals the pattern of growth in Bangalore and its implication on local climate (an increase of ~2 to 2.5 ºC during the last decade) and also on the natural resources (76% decline in vegetation cover and 79% decline in water bodies), necessitating appropriate strategies for the sustainable management. The study reveals that frequent flooding (since 2000, even during normal rainfall) in Bangalore is a consequence of the increase in impervious area with the high-density urban development in the catchment and loss of wetlands and vegetation.

Keywords: Urban Floods, Wetlands, Heat Island, Mitigation

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