Bengaluru environmentalist and director of Eco Watch

Rebel cities: Rapid urbanisation and the death of resources

Published Sep 1, 2018, 6:39 am IST
Updated Sep 1, 2018, 6:39 am IST
Rural areas are gradually adopting urban culture, which is dangerous in the longer run.
Representational image
 Representational image

Urbanisation has become a very common feature of Indian society. In fact growth of Industries has contributed largely to the growth of urban areas. As a result of this process people have started migrating towards industrial areas in search of employment which has resulted in the ever increasing growth of towns and cities. This process of Urbanization denotes a diffusion of the influence of urban centres to a rural hinterland. In fact it can also be defined as a process of complete concentration of human population & related activities in a particular area. According to experts urbanisation is a process of becoming urban, migrating to urban areas, shifting from agriculture to other urban pursuits that are required for the city life. A number of reasons have led to the growth of cities. However, Industrialization is still one of the major causes of urbanization. It has broadened the employment horizon to a great extent. And rural populations have migrated to cities in search of employment opportunities.

Many social factors such as attraction of cities, better standard of living, better educational facilities, need for status also induce people to migrate to cities. In rural areas people are dependent mainly on agriculture for their livelihood. But Indian agriculture is majorly dependent on monsoons. And in case of droughts / floods or any other natural calamities, people have to migrate to nearby cities / towns. Urban areas are characterized by advanced technologies, better infrastructure, communication, medical facilities, etc. People feel that they can lead a better and comfortable life in cities and therefore migrate to cities.

 

It is an interesting trend that as the cities are growing in number its rural counterpart is gradually adopting this urban culture, which is dangerous in the longer run. They no longer are interested in retaining their unique rural culture and lifestyle. Rural communities are following the material culture of urbanites. And this urban - rural transformation can be very clearly observed in many areas, such as: increase in literacy rate among rural communities, change in their dressing and clothing, adoption of modern technology & gadgets, enlightenment of women, modern transport and communication, active involvement in politics & social development, infrastructure development, rural consumerism, increasing demand for products like cosmetics, etc.

Thus it can be noticed that there are significant changes in the lifestyle of rural communities. Indian villages have adopted urban lifestyle and way of living. Urbanization can bring in positive effects if it takes place up to a desirable limit. But extensive urbanisation of villages and rural areas may result in severe and adverse environmental impacts. And just recently we observed one such man-made disaster that was majorly due to unprecedented growth and haphazard development of areas located in the Western Ghats - a Global Mega-Biodiversity Hotspot. Large scale mining for different ores, thousands of quarries for procuring stones for construction purposes, massive deforestation to accommodate houses & commercial buildings, uncontrolled and unsustainable development of tourism & associated activities, destruction of catchment areas, complete deviation in land use and land cover pattern and over exploitation of sand (sand-mining) from rivers - all this has taken place in the region which actually needs to be protected and preserved if mankind has to survive and sustain itself in future.

The Western Ghats are globally recognized as an eco- region of utmost global importance for the conservation of biological diversity, besides areas of high geographical, cultural, economic and aesthetic values. The ghats run parallel to Indian West coast, traversing the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat covering an area of around 1,40,000 km² over a 1,600 km long stretch that is interrupted only by the 30 km Palghat Gap in Kerala. In fact the Indian sub-continent is completely dependent upon these ghats. But unfortunately this highly significant life-support system is undergoing drastic changes that have been chiefly responsible in warming the globe and causing adverse changes in the climate.  Bangalore, in fact is the biggest beneficiary of the resources of the Western Ghats in terms of water, food, energy, medicine, tourism, etc. Therefore, it is a very simple theory that if we need to sustain and survive in the Indian sub-continent we have to protect the Western Ghats at any cost. 

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