By 2038, Bengaluru will get warmer if green spaces continue to reduce: IISc study 

The analysis revealed a possible increase in built-up area to 1536.08 sq km, decrease in green cover by 14.32 sq km by 2038, and the disappearance of water bodies
File photo of Bengaluru | (Pic: Express)
File photo of Bengaluru | (Pic: Express)

Researchers point out that Bengaluru will get much warmer by 2038, if development and shrinking of habitat green spaces continues at the same pace in the next 15 years, stated a report in The New Indian Expreess.

The study, Environmental Consequences in the Neighbourhood of Rapid Unplanned Urbanisation in Bangalore City, published in LIDSEN Publishing Inc on December 1, assessed the impact of urbanisation in Bengaluru.

The study team involved researchers from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur, and Chanakya University. Artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) algorithm tools aided in assessing ecological status in the urban environment and revealing complex patterns.

The research document showed a 51.86 per cent increase in built-up area, and a 26.28 per cent decrease in green cover. Rapid unplanned urbanisation after globalisation, and opening up of markets in Bengaluru city has led to erosion in the natural surface (water bodies and green cover) in the neighbourhood, which is impacting the health of the environment and people.

Computation of fragmentation indices showed a decline of native green cover by 177.2 sq km in the southern part of Bengaluru district.

The analysis revealed a possible increase in built-up area to 1536.08 sq km, decrease in green cover by 14.32 sq km by 2038, and the disappearance of water bodies. It highlighted the need to mitigate the adverse impact of land use changes through planned urbanisation, on environment and livelihood of local communities.

“The decline of heat sinks such as water bodies and green cover would contribute to an increase in land surface temperature, which would affect the microclimate of Bengaluru, highlighting the need to sustain ecosystem services to support the livelihood of local communities by 2038," the study said.

The study also noted that as agricultural lands, fallow lands and open spaces were converted into urban spaces, the area under non-vegetation saw an increase from 15.73 per cent in 1973 to 67.3 per cent in 2022. Land use analysis data also showed that the built-up area drastically expanded in the mid-2000s with Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, including rural landscapes, which led to the conversion of agricultural land to paved areas.

Peri-urban areas are becoming dense urban clusters with poor infrastructure and are devoid of connectivity. The area under open spaces declined due to the conversion to paved areas and layouts.

FOUR-DECADE DECLINE

- As much as 137.09 sq km (6.24%) of open spaces in 1973 decreased to 45.93 sq km (2.09%) in 2022

- Lakes degraded due to pollution, encroachment; in 2022, 52.19 sq km (2.38%) of district is under water bodies

- Forest areas in outer regions of BBMP have decreased from 29.6% in 1973 to 3.32% in 2022, including Bannerghatta National Park

- Forest department has been promoting unscientific monoculture plantations of Eucalyptus, Teak, and so on, in the district; they covered 0.06% area in 1973, and 3.6% of the area in 2022

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