February 8th, 2017
Bengaluru once had the highest number of trees in the city compared to other major cities. The main roads were lined with trees for miles, and apart from providing shade, this also helped keep the city cool.
Over the years, the city has gone through radical changes. On the one hand, there are protests about the proposed steel flyover and the environmental damage it would cause. And on the other, another environmental problem has come to light about the illegal quarries in Bannerghatta National Park.
Almost 200 trucks transport granite from the outskirts of Bannerghatta National Park every day. Illicit and rampant use of dynamite in stone crushing and quarrying has created havoc in the eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of the park. It has degraded the fragile habitat of the animals.
Many environmentalists and civic activists have launched an online campaign titled ‘Bannerghatta National Park in Grave Danger-Act Now!’, demanding the state government to act fast and save the forest. This campaign is being hosted by a non-profit portal ‘Conservation India’ which is dedicated to nature and wildlife conservation. It is urging people to sign the letter requesting the government officials concerned to take urgent actions to save the most beloved national park of Bengaluru.
These illegal activities are going on unchecked in Shivanahalli and Ragihalli villages adjacent to the park just outside the city. Many wildlife species are endangered.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change also issued a notification constituting the ESZ with width ranging from 100 meters to 4.5 km from the national park boundary. The notification issued categorises stone quarrying and crushing as prohibited activities. Local politicians who have vested interest in stone quarrying are trying their level best to dilute the notification by reducing the prohibited area.
The campaign coordinators say that once they get enough signatures, the letter will be sent to the Additional Chief Secretary of Ecology, Forest and Environment; Chairman; Karnataka State Pollution Control Board; Karnataka forest department; chief wildlife warden; Director of mines and geology, Karnataka.
Bannerghatta Biological Park is located about 22 Kms south of Bengaluru city. It is one among the few places in the world where wilderness is preserved so close to a big city. It has different units such as Zoo, Safari, Butterfly Park and Rescue Center (Conservation of captive animals). It is a home to endangered species like leopards, elephants, wild dogs, sloth bears, sambars, gaurs, pangolins and a large number of reptiles, birds, and amphibians.
What can you do?
You can help put a stop to this by joining the campaign urging the concerned officials to take urgent action to save Bengaluru’s beloved Bannerghatta. Please find the petition here.
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