The 2014 Environmental Survey Report of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) has revealed that residents from Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad take the threats of global warming and climate change seriously. Out of the total 2,830 residents surveyed, a whopping 90 percent respondents said that they realise the effects of climate change in the city. Nearly 68 percent of those surveyed, feel that the temperatures are rising, while 50% of the respondents stated that the city is experiencing a decrease in the rainfall since a decade.
The respondents believe that the water management system and the drinking water quality in the city have seen an improvement over the years.
“A majority of 73 percent of the respondents felt there was an improvement in the drinking water quality, while 45 percent perceived an increase in the tree cover of the city. 51% of the residents have attributed the civic improvements to the efforts taken by the government authorities of the city,” said Bibhuprasad Nayak, a fellow at TERI, and the head of the survey team that conducted the study in Pune.Nayak added, “Though the citizens have acknowledged the improvements in the steps taken to preserve the environment, they also have also pointed out the banes of environmental negligence. 64 percent of the respondents believe that an increase in air pollution has resulted in frequent occurrences of air borne diseases.”
Though 90 percent of the respondents believed in climate change and have experienced a deterioration of air quality, only17 percent of the residents felt that environment protection should come before development. 54 percent of those surveyed felt that issues related to environment and development should be treated differently.
“Citizens are only looking out for a short term development. By separating environment and development from each other, we will be only be accelerating climate change. The citizens of Pune are aware of climate change, but they need to adopt measures to achieve sustainable development. There are small but effective ways to protect the environment. Residents can start using the public transport, install power saving lights and adopt eco-friendly technology to protect the environment,” said Ranjit Gadgil, the program director of Parisar, a leading environmental and traffic related NGO of the city.
The environmental survey was conducted in eight cities across the country including Delhi, Mumbai, Coimbatore, Guwahati, Kanpur and Pune.
R K Pachauri, Director General, TERI said, “We have focussed on those cities which need to address the threats of environmental degradation seriously. The way to address the environmental concerns is by generating public awareness, which we have tried to improve with the survey.”
The survey provided with insights on the attitude and perceptions of the citizens towards their environment, and the role of the government and media in spreading awareness for environmental protection.
Prodipto Ghosh, Distinguished Fellow and Director, Earth Science and Climate Change, TERI, said, “The survey will be of immense value to policy makers, media and other institutions, which are striving to spread environmental awareness.”