One of the factors contributing to global warming and rising sea levels is coal-based power plants. Incidentally, such plants meet 70% of the state’s electricity needs and there are plans to set up nine new ones. Conservation of power should be given top priority but evidently a look at the hoardings and street poles points that this is no priority at all. While environmentalists are planning to launch a two-month-long campaign against the government’s proposal for setting up new coal-based power plants and highlight the merits of conservation and use of sustainable sources of energy – a look at the city shows that authorities are still to take cognizance of the matter. All over the city hoardings, kiosks and mobile hoardings consume electricity for only commercial profits and interests. For Navi Mumbai, the concern is much more with mall culture ruling the development scenario. However, there is a dark side to the mall culture as well. Malls are massive consumers of energy and utilize large volumes of electricity and water. They are fully air-conditioned and there is no serious attempt to include natural light and ventilation in their inherent design. With more than 11 malls planned for Navi Mumbai, there is little left to imagination about how taxing they will be on our already depleted resources. In the name of globalization and development only a selected few and the creamy layer of society are benefited by the mall culture even as villages not far from Panvel face water cuts and load-shedding for many hours in a day. Though authorities make timely attempts to create awareness on the need to employ various methods to conserve power or rain water through rainwater harvesting systems, so far all have been miserable failed attempts.
- February 18, 2008