Good Use of Waste Land by PMC

A good initiative has been taken by PMC to create a garden along the drainage water near Patil Plaza, Parvati. The garden is still under construction. They have used various aesthetic plants that also contribute to attract different types of butterflies. This garden is really going to become an oxygen pocket of this crowded area. The only suggestion is they should cultivate ‘Native plants’ to support native flora and fauna.



Lakaki lake- Birds oasis !!

Barely a kilometre from the populated Fergusson college road lies an oasis ‘Model Colony Lake’. It is also known as La-Kā-Ki is supposed to be more than 100 years old and unique nature reserve. Since 1995 there were some controversies going on its development but finally it was open to public in the year 2001. The story goes back 1995, when the standing committee passed a resolution to develop the lake into an educational complex. Based on the observations and field tests some researchers from Pune University had come to the conclusion the lake supports very well balanced eco-system and supports a variety of life forms to co-exist there.
The development strategy was totally based on ecological considerations. The lake supports mosquito fish. Therefore the area is free of mosquitoes and water does not smell. It was observed that about 52 bird species visit the lake throughout the year.  Thus, a narrow peripheral walkway was introduced around the lake for watching birds from the distance. There are no artificial lights on the walkway so that the birds are not distracted. Visiting hours are regulated and the lake is open during 6-8 am and 4-6 pm.

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Gardens in Pune – an overview

Pune was listed as fifth polluted city in Asia. Pollution results into climate change, increasing heat. Greenery development is the best way to overcome increasing pollution.
Pune, the cultural capital of Maharashtra, is one of the most important cities of western India. The city is rapidly expanding as an overpowered, overcrowded, over busy and over polluted mega city. The green and open areas are being converted into residential areas.
With the growing congestion and population, scarcity of Gardens was felt like never before. Considering this Pune Municipal Corporation started planning and developing various public Gardens one by one. According to PMC there are 112 gardens in the city.
PMC has also developed specialized gardens such as butterfly garden, modern colony garden, palm park, 7 wonders garden, nallah garden, Okayama garden etc. Recently, PMC has developed a new garden called Mughal garden adjacent to Okayama garden.
All these gardens not only beautify the city but also support biodiversity.



Butterfly Garden

‘Papilon’ is the first butterfly garden in the city. A unique garden specially made for conserving butterfly and there natural habitat. It is the second butterfly garden in the country after Bangalore. The garden has been landscaped keeping in mind the ideal breeding conditions for butterflies. The garden has been developed as butterflies have become a rare sight in cities due to shrinking green cover.

The garden has been built on an area of 30,000 square feet. It is a small garden with two walk-in enclosures.  Garden is comprises of butterfly enclosure, breeding centre and exhibition hall,  waterfalls, ponds, a rock garden, pathways and some benches to enable citizens to enjoy the park. The garden has special verity of trees and shrubs that attract butterflies. The enclosures are covered with wire-mesh to prevent the butterflies from escaping and to prevent birds from preying on the butterflies. As a result Countless butterflies have made the garden as their home. Around 10,000 butterflies in the park, this has nearly 80 species.

However, not many people in Pune city are aware of its location as it is not well publicized. The open garden is quite small and there was no knowledgeable person around to guide us around the site and help identify the various species. Also some exotic species has planted in garden.



Science Park

A first of its kind science park, which will educate and enthrall the young and the old alike, has been developed by the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) with funds from the central government. The science park, located at Chinchwad near Auto Cluster along the Mumbai-Pune highway stretch. The science centre has been constructed on an area of 7.5 acres. The total cost of the project is Rs 9.75 crore.
The science park will be a major attraction for children and adults alike. It will be a learning experience for them. They will get to know various basic concepts in science through simple language and demonstrations. They will also get to know about the workings of various scientific gadgets used in daily life. There are a total of 268 exhibits.
The park includes a dinosaur park and various educational galleries providing information about all the topics related to science. PCMC, with the help of National Council of Science Museum (NCSM) and the union ministry of culture, has developed the science centre which will be open from 10 am to 5.30 pm daily and will be closed on Mondays. There are a total of 42 models which will help one understand the working of pulleys, periscopes, microphone and other such technologies. One can see six scientific models and learn how they operate. There are statues of eight well-known Indian scientists as well.  Visitors can enjoy short 3D films at the 3D auditorium which has a capacity of 20 seats. Adjacent to this is the inflatable dome planetarium which can accommodate around 22 persons. The visitors can get the basic information about astronomy, stars and planets at the planetarium. Next is a small 150 seat auditorium where the lectures and seminars of eminent persons on subjects related to science can be held. Further, there is a fun science gallery which has 62 exhibits and is likely to be the most popular gallery for all the visitors. Here one can learn the various concepts in science through small games by operating the exhibits.



Light-and-sound jogging park

Visitors to the jogging park in Taware Colony in Walvekarnagar will soon get to experience a light-and-sound show, thanks to an initiative by cooperator Aba Bagul who got the inspiration to set up this show when I attended a similar light show in Malaysia.
Work on installing the lights will finish by month-end. There will be 1,200 LED lamps of 1-30 watt installed in the park, and they will flash lights of different colours. Soft music will also be played while the lights are flashed.
The total cost of the project is around Rs25 lakh, which has been funded by the Pune Municipal Corporation. The entry fee has not yet been finalized, but it will be around Rs15-20. Though the proposal was conceptualized in 2012, it took time to be approved.



Our trees…!!

Every year, many people participate in plantation drives. But just planting any tree isn’t enough. Especially, the exotic ones (not native to a particular place) have proved to be of little help in environment conservation. Sadly enough, more number of exotic trees are found in Pune as compared with the native species.
Native species are those which naturally occur in given set of landscape & climate. They are climatically & ecologically appropriate varieties that have been co-evolving through adaptations for years with changing environmental conditions. They maintain & improve ecosystems, and are base of food for local fauna.
Exotic species are not native to a particular area. These species have been introduced by human activities to a location where they do not naturally occur. They are major ecological threat. When these non-native species cause ecological problems, they are termed as “invasive”. However, they do not really support local wildlife, and carry the inherent risk of overwhelming local biodiversity by spreading rapidly. Take for instance the ‘subabhul’ tree, which is not native to Pune. Since the seeds of the plant have a high rate of germination, the ‘subabhul’ tree generally tends to spread like wildfire. Exotic trees like Gulmohor provide shade but birds don’t build nest on such trees. Indian birds are not familiar with the exotic species and hence, it is important to plant indigenous trees,
However, the ratio of native to non-native trees in the city of Pune is negligible. In fact, some varieties like ‘dakshin moha’, ‘sada moha’, ‘padal’, ‘bija’ and ‘beheda’are a rare sight in the cities, though they can be found in abundance in the forests,”
For urban environments to support wild birds there is a need to protect mature, native trees, limit the number of exotic species planted and not insist on keeping gardens perfectly manicured. Do we want our plantations to look like green deserts devoid of any life? Lets start restoring our natural wealth.