Environmental Status Report for Pune city

ESRs for the city have been published every year for over a decade
The Environmental Status Report for Pune city
Maharashtra is among the first states in the country where the preparation of a technical ESR (Environmental Status Report) is regarded as a significant tool in decision making in the context of urban development. As per the BPMC (Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporations) Act 1949, Section 67 (A), it is mandatory for all the ULBs (Urban Local Bodies) in Maharashtra to submit an annual ESR to the Hon'ble General Body.
The ESR indicates the status of environmental management in the city and identifies areas where further interventions for improvement are required.

The budget allocation of municipal bodies is largely dependent on the status reflected in the ESR. This technical compilation comprehensively documents the changes in the environment, the initiatives taken to address these concerns, and an estimate of the budgetary allocations and expenses for the infrastructural facilities in the city. Every year, the Municipal Commissioner presents the published ESR to the Hon'ble General Body of the ULB (Urban Local Body) for discussions and comments to enhance the quality of the report.

There are a total of 15 municipal corporations in the state which have to abide by the law and need to compile an annual ESR before July 31 every year. PMC (Pune Municipal Corporation) is the only corporation that has been publishing an ESR consecutively before the said date for the past 13 years.

In June 2009, the MPCB (Maharashtra Pollution Control Board), in consultation with the Department of Environment, Government of Maharashtra, issued new guidelines that suggested ESRs be prepared as per the DPSIR (Driving forces - Pressures - Status - Impacts - Response), a methodology for organizing information pertaining to significant parameters in the context of the environment. In addition to this, PMC also indicated the need to estimate a carbon footprint for Pune city.

TERI's Mumbai centre, upon completion of all formalities that included both technical presentation and financial bid, was awarded the project to prepare the ESR in Marathi, the official language of the state. Besides this, TERI also presented a report on carbon footprint estimates of the city (transport and energy) in July 2011.

The Pune ESR 2009-10 was prepared as per the DPSIR framework suggested in the MPCB guidelines. It included an analysis of trends or changes in the environment, causes of these changes, assessment and interpretation of implications, and impacts of these trends. It also emphasized on the assessment of actual and potential societal response to environmental problems. Having assessed more than 250 parameters, the EPI (Environmental Performance Index) for Pune city was determined to be 695.60 (see graph). The index gives an overall rating for four main criteria defined in the ESR-- growth of cities, state of resources (air, water and land), urban services, and initiatives for improving the city environment. Through the index, one can ascertain the gaps in the progress chart and devise strategies for further improvement of conditions. A comprehensive analysis of the ESR and EPI revealed that, the maximum achievable score under the thematic indicators is 944, of which, Pune city achieved a score of 695.60. Thus, the difference of 248.40 can be attained by adopting approaches which may ensure sustainable development of the city.

Key environmental issues observed under the project

Air Pollution

Pune needs to breathe easy. It is one of India's most polluted cities resulting in increasing incidences of respiratory disease. And people with respiratory diseases are more prone to the H1N1 flu. The prime source of SPM (Suspended Particulate Matter) is the increasing numbers of vehicles, industries in the vicinity of the city, and construction sites. This is one of the major concerns for air pollution. The SPM situation worsened during July and August 2009 due to high precipitation levels as compared to the other months. The H1N1 epidemic was also at its peak during the same period. In fact, Pune's recorded RSPM (Respiratory Suspended Particulate Matter) is 1.5 times more than the national standards.

Water Pollution

The high BOD-COD levels were evident in samples taken from six locations in the river
Almost 45% of sewage in the city is released untreated
into the Mula river
According to the Water Supply and Sewerage departments of PMC, only 55% of the total generated sewerage in the city is treated. The remaining 45% is released into the river untreated and leads to high levels of both BOD (Biological Oxygen Demand) and COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand). At six sampling locations along the Mula river, the recorded BOD levels were found to be higher than the permissible limits set by MPCB. The recorded COD levels were also above the permissible limits.

Encroachment

The population of the urban slum in Pune city is on the rise
Estimates show that over 40% of Pune's population
lives in slums
It is estimated that over 40% of Pune's population lives in slums. However, it is feared that if slums continue to grow at the current pace, almost 50% of the city's population will soon be residing in these shanty towns. In order to tackle this issue, boundaries defined by the Hill and Hill Slopes department have to be followed stringently. This, coupled with encroachment of footpaths built for pedestrian use, is a grave issue which requires immediate attention.

This report is based on the data obtained from both governmental and non-governmental institutes, as well as data provided by HoDs (Head of Department) of respective departments at PMC. Furthermore, for better understanding, past reports for Pune and other cities including those for Kolhapur, Navi Mumbai, and Thane were reviewed and analyzed.

An earnest effort was also made to involve all stakeholders (senior citizens, NGO representatives, and experts) during compilation of data and drafting of the report. Periodic meetings were arranged with members of the ESR committee to elicit suggestions and comments which were incorporated in the report.

TERI's stellar work in the preparation of the Pune ESR resulted in state-wide media coverage. Subsequently, the MMRDA (Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority) released a work order for preparing an ESR for the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

Sponsor(s): Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC)
Duration: One year
Key Stakeholder(s)/ Beneficiarie(s): Pune Municipal Corporation

Objectives
  • Preparation of a comprehensive ESR, as per MPCB guidelines;
  • Calculation of EPI for Pune city;
  • Estimation of carbon footprint for the city.

Achievements
  • It was the first ESR report prepared in Maharashtra as per the revised MPCB guidelines;
  • Calculation of EPI for the city of Pune has been done for the first time;
  • The report prepared by TERI was accepted with minor suggestion and highly appreciated for its technical and linguistic standards;
  • It was TERI's first technical report in a regional language.
Gap analysis
Thematic Indicators    
Growth of cities 250 141.50
State of Resources 300 243.00
Urban services 250 181.50
Initiatives for improving city environment 144 129.60
Environmental Performance Index (EPI)   695.60

EPI (Environmental Performance Index)

EPI (Environmental Performance Index)

Posted on: 8 August 2011