Hyderabad: When cities develop, its impact is not confined within itself, but its echoes can be heard in other places also, says Dr Harini Nagendra, professor at Azim Premji University.

“Cities can have an impact on a place that is even 100 kilometers away from it. We suck resources from rivers, and power from coal mines. We also export our wastes, mostly in landfills located in the outskirts, which are basically villages. This ultimately leads to village water resources getting polluted,” says the author of the book ‘Cites and Canopies.’

Commenting on the rapid pace of urbanization, Harini Nagendra also said that the world is going to be 75% more urban by 2050.

“As far as India is concerned, the country will be 50 percent urban by 2050. And the worst part is utter lack of ecological sustainability in the cities,” she said.

‘Only ten papers on sustainability from India’

She also observed from a study their researchers conducted that in the top thousand papers published on ecological sustainability only ten publications are from India. “While India has a lot of issues that need to be addressed, most of them don’t materialise into publications. Also, we cite western sources for solutions, when actually we can find indigenous solutions that are more relevant. For instance, China supports its own research by citing their own sources,” commented the professor.

On Hyderabad’s ecology

Talking about the geography of Hyderabad, the professor went on to say that the city has to find a way to channelise their development, by keeping their rocks intact. “While in Bangalore, the authorities have done away with most of the rocks by blasting them, Hyderabad should sustain their ecology around these rocks, which forms the basis of the city.”

“It goes without saying that Indian cities will be hotter by 10 degrees with each passing year, and Hyderabad is no exception. The only solution is to have more trees. You can’t say that you’ll cut the tree in the city for expansion of roads, and plant five saplings elsewhere. If the pollution is on the road, you need the trees on the road,” concluded Harini Nagendra.

The professor of Sustainability at Azim Premji University was speaking on ‘Thinking Ecologically about India’s Cities’ in the event organised by WWF-Hyderabad and Deccan Birders.

Amritha Mohan

Amritha Mohan is a reporter at the NewsMeter. Shortly after completing her Master's in Communication at the University of Hyderabad, she began teaching courses on media and culture as a guest lecturer at the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Shillong. Amritha has previously interned with news organisations such as Greater Kashmir and Newslaundry. A lover of travel and photography, she spends most of her time planning road trips to the North-East. Nothing makes her happier than a green turf and a team to play football with. She primarily reports on education, tech, human-interesting and critical features.

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