I’ve been residing in Pimple Saudagar for the last 6 years, and can say it without a shadow of a doubt that the only “parks” I’ve come across in the area are Park Street, Park Royale and the Bhojwani Samruddhi Park. Oh, no. They’re not amusement parks as you may think. They’re residential societies with limited or no connection to an amusement park. Despite living in one for a long time, I’ve often wondered, Pune is certainly not what I thought it to be. When I came to Pune for the first time, I was told that it’s one of the greenest cities I’ll ever come across in my life. Erm, no. I’m sorry, I may have missed it amidst the over-whelming number of IT companies and malls surrounding my residence. Yes, the limelight, the nightlife, and the commercialisation looks attractive from afar and makes the city worthy of being one of the top-notch metrolopolitan cities in the country. But, the question remains the same – aren’t we paying too much just to enjoy a slice of urbanisation in our limited lives?
On World Environment Day, let me come forth and reiterate the issue we’ve all discussed a hundred times before. Yes, we care. At least, some of us do. We’re human enough to feel an itch within when we see a tree cut. We cringe when we read about the increasing pollution in news papers. But, you know, my problem is less with urbanisation and more with the speed of it. Clearly, Pune, like many other cities in the country, is unable to maintain the balance. For every new building we erect, there’s no paying back to the environment. How many under-construction buildings do we see everyday on our way to work? In response, how many trees have we planted? It’s easy for us as a society to put the blame on others because that’s what we’re best at. We can crib, blame and forget about it. Just like everything else.
There are various small-scale organisations working towards reviving the old charm of Pune. Hundreds of cleanliness drives take place in the city regularly, and many NGOs are working towards the betterment. But, how much of a difference are we making as opposed to the routine curve balls that urbanisation is throwing upon us? Each year, Pune’s maximum temperature is higher than the previous year. And, let’s not even get started on the number of automobiles on road. Statistics are attractive to throw in as proof. But, the point I’m trying to make here is the same old adage we grew up listening to – isn’t prevention better than cure?
The answer to it is simple – we must get over our reckless disregard for environment. It’s not your phone with a rechargeable battery. It’s not a car seat you can adjust according to your convenience. At this point, it’s impossible to go back. But, it isn’t impossible to stop right here. Let’s ask ourselves – do we still want more from the world? Can’t we stop for a while and stop obsessing over our future? Or, are we too engaged in our own lives that we’ve given up on thinking about anything else? Are we really too far gone? If only we could paint over the missing trees in the scenery that is Pune.