A new initiative puts Mumbai’s environmental services on the map
Mumbai on Google Earth looks like a jagged slice of grey speckled with green; this is a city of few natural spots but plenty of environmental problems. Now all things green about the city – from gardens to environmental services to organic stores – can be seen at a glance on the Environmental Management Centre’s Green Map of Mumbai.
The idea, according to Prasad Modak, executive president of the eco-consulting group EMC, is to create “a social mapping platform to connect citizens, subject experts, researchers, service providers and social workers who aspire for a better environment in their neighbourhood.” Laxmikant Deshpande, who is leading the project, said that while a typical green map would only show the city’s wetlands and gardens, the EMC map serves as a visual directory to a host of environmental services and institutes. These include organisations that work on issues related to solid waste management, biodiversity and sustainable transport such as the Bombay Natural History Society and the National Solid Waste Association of India, as well as lifestyle services including ecotels like Orchid and Rodas and shops that sell eco-friendly and organic products such as Navdanya and Fabindia.
Currently, a PDF version of the map can be downloaded from the EMC’s website along with a resource guide. But Deshpande said that the map is very much a work in progress. More services need to be added. The next step is to put the map on an online platform, where users can network and learn about environmental solutions. This effort will be based on the Ekovoices application that was used for a pilot project the group worked on in Maharashtra. Ekovoices, said Modak, enabled citizens to report on environmental issues in their neighbourhood by pinpointing them on a map. They could then join a discussion group to air their grievances and also connect with subject experts for help.
Deshpande said they hoped to replicate that model in Mumbai, so communities could use the Green Map to solve neighbourhood environmental issues. “If someone has a solid waste management issue, he can visit the map and maybe find another user who is working on vermicomposting close by,” he said.
The EMC also has a carbon footprint calculator you can use to figure out your personal impact on the environment. If the results horrify you, go to the green map for solutions.
Visit www.http://ekonnect.net/emcs-green-map.htmlto download the EMCs Green Map
By Bijal Vachharajani on June 23 2011