Kishor Pate, CMD – Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd.
Nothing that we see or know of on this planet has remained the same over the last decade. We have used science and technology to improve the quality of our lives, but the very progress that we are so proud is also proving to be a major danger to the planet.
In the papers and on the news, we hear and read about the detriments of climate change – and yet, the whole concept of environmental sustainability remains an abstract concept to most individuals and even industries in this country.
Unfortunately, real estate has been a major contributor towards the gradual environmental degradation of our cities. In and our urban areas, activities like deforestation and draining of water bodies in order to make way for more buildings are rampant.
We are already noticing the change in weather patterns – hotter summers, shorter winters, failed or insufficient monsoons. There is much to be said for traditional values – a hallmark of the Puneri way of life – but it seems that most of the city is still living in the past, where global warming was a distant concept and not a real and present danger.
In cities like Pune, taking the preservation of the city’s ecology and finite energy resources seriously is now more than important – the city is, in environmental terms, already on yellow alert.
It needs to be understood that the conventional methods of constructing buildings – as well as inhabiting such buildings post construction – are a major drain on available energy while being the single-largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.
There was a time when we took great pride in our city’s unique ecosystems and the rich biodiversity to be found in its open spaces, forested areas and water bodies.
Today, we have come very close to decimating this natural wealth by sacrificing it on the altar of mercenary development.
The price that the city is paying goes beyond mere climate change. Though developing buildings with obsolete construction methods is definitely a major culprit in this respect, there is also a greater price to pay for unplanned development.
Reckless and opportunistic creation of buildings basically amounts to inefficient use of land, which leads to increased energy consumption levels, commuting times as well as air and water pollution. The bottom line is loss in economic performance, vastly reduced quality of life and ever- escalating health concerns.
However, the onus of responsibility does not rest on developers alone. Property buyers must also be attuned to the very real necessity of choosing the ‘green option’.
While the response to the need for environmentally sustainable buildings in this city does fall short of the required mark, many developers in Pune have taken up the cause of creating green buildings. The market needs to respond to this, as well.
As long as the demand for homes in cheaply constructed projects that compromise the environment throughout their lifecycles outweighs that for environmentally sustainable ones, the city’s return to its ‘green’ heritage will remain a distant dream.
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