In the current summer one would like to have a good swim or like to teach children how to swim. But there are barely eight municipal swimming pools in the sprawling big metropolis Mumbai for a population of nearly 17 million people
There are a large number of private swimming pools but these are very expensive, some charge more than Rs 2000 for an hour or so.
In view of the water shortage in the city the civic corporation should restrict the number of private pools but it is yielding to pressure from the builder lobby and allowing pools on terraces of high rises. The numbers must be running into hundreds. The MCGM must make the figures public.
The National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO), the apex body of real estate developers in the city, and the Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI-CREDAI) had previously made presentations to the BMC, to allow swimming pools on terraces of high-rises. Niranjan Hiranandani, developer and national president of NAREDCO, said, “It is a good thing that BMC has accepted allowing swimming pools on terraces of high-rises.”
Now look at this private swimming pool and the prohibitive charge for one hour and it is not even in Taj Mahal hotel, it is in another location named Taj. It is Taj Wellington’s Jiva Spa has an outdoor wave pool you can access for the day. Besides the pool, day-long access will also allow you to use the jacuzzi, chill and steam room. Don’t forget to stop by the hotel’s cafe, which serves up some old-school club food, such as masala fries and club sandwiches, says the poster.Price: INR 5900 for a one-hour session (inclusive of taxes)
Timings: 6 AM to 10 PM
The municipal swimming pools now accessible to citizens are Vallabhbhai Patel at Kandivali, Arun Vaidya at Chembur, Mahatma Gandhi at Dadar, Indira Gandhi at Mulund, Shahaji raje at Andheri, then there are two at Dahisar and one in Malad.
There is also great inequality in the use of water in Mumbai, the rich are grabbing a huge share while the poor who are in far larger numbers get very little water.
All the municipal water in Mumbai is potable and meant for drinking but lakhs of motorists are misusing it for washing of cars, paying a pittance for it. They should be charged much higher rates for car washing, it is argued.
MCGM says it may not be able to supply water for secondary requirements such as flushing, gardening, vehicle washing swimming pools, air conditioning etc. and it is expected that Citizens have to generate the water for secondary requirements through rain water harvesting or recycling. Rain Water Harvesting (RWH) is an ancient and convenient method. It implies storage of rainwater in man made tanks or recharging ground water and utilization as per requirements. Since, rainwater within our own compound is to be stored; anybody is entitled to do so. Most importantly, the capital expenditure and maintenance cost involved in this method is quite low. Rain Water Harvesting contributes in raising the ground water level, the quality of the ground water improves, soil erosion is arrested. Entry of seawater in ground water can be prevented. Following methods can be deployed for Rain Water Harvesting. 1) Storage in underground or above ground artificial tanks. 2) Direct recharging of the subsoil water strata (aquifer) through dug up wells or bore wells. 3) Recharging of the subsoil water by percolation. 4) Forcing rainwater in the ground through bore wells and thereby preventing entry of salty seawater in the subsoil strata. Very large quantities of water can be stored because of the large roof areas of industrial buildings. Those who buy water in tankers can save on this expense by using rainwater. House owners or tenants can store rainwater with a little bit of effort. MCGM is making all-out efforts to actually practice Rain Water Harvesting/ water conservation.
Yet, the builders are openly flouting all requirements for rain water harvesting, not installing the equipment, they are a very big drag on the water infrastructure.
The world over wasteful use of water by the rich is causing serious problems. The American obsession with lawns is eating away at crucial forests and wetlands while it is wasting and polluting valuable water reserves that are already becoming dangerously unstable. The only purpose of these uniform expanses of useless grass is to act as a status symbol, demonstrating that homeowners have time and money to waste.
In a time of rampant habitat destruction and starvation, America continues to waste precious land and resources. America’s communities are surrounded by empty, dead space. The land is cleared of its native biodiversity and replaced with a single useless plant: turfgrass.
If all the land currently used for lawns was put together it would be around the size of Texas. That is more than the land used for corn, wheat and fruit trees combined. The constant maintenance of turfgrass also consumes about 3 trillion gallons of water each year, more than all of the seven most demanding crops. Lawnmowers and other equipment burn almost 200 million gallons of gasoline annually, releasing greenhouse gasses and contributing to climate change.
All this lawn is made by destroying the native ecosystem and replacing it with grass. Dana Johnson, who teaches Dual Enrollment Biology at Clover Hill, believes that this is harmful to local wildlife.
“Things eat the roots of certain plants or they eat the seeds of certain plants and they’re not gonna be able to do it if [the plants] aren’t there,” Johnson said. “Like dandelion seeds, a lot of things eat them, so when you remove all of them you’ve removed all of the roots affecting the soil, you’ve removed the leaves which spread out on the ground and create shade under them, you’ve removed the seeds that things eat, you’ve removed the flowers that the pollinators come to.”
The American obsession with a close-cut patch of green has its roots in 17th-century Europe. Castles in France and England at the time were guarded by men whose vision couldn’t be obstructed by wild shrubbery in case anybody decided to lay siege, so grazing animals were used to trim unruly vegetation. Since these castles belonged to the wealthiest landowners, a smooth property became a status symbol, and that mentality has carried over into the modern-day American ’burb. All that time you spend mowing and raking and weeding? Blame it on the landscape lust of some disenfranchised peasants. Water usage aside, lawns also create a type of monoculture that represents the opposite of a biodiverse ecosystem. If the only thing you have in your yard is grass, the area is likely not attracting a plethora of different insect species.
The history of lawns in the US is deeply rooted in racism and the aristocratic ambitions of America’s ruling and middle classes. In the 18th century, something akin to modern lawns gained popularity among the wealthy elite of France and England, and was imported by founding fathers like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Lawns’ difficulty to maintain made them the exclusive domain of the wealthiest Americans until they became widespread in the 1950s after federal aid and a friendly lending market made it easier for Americans to purchase homes and move to the nation’s growing suburbs.
The rich in India with their slavish imitation of the lawn culture of the West are creating serious problems. They are ignoring the rich heritage of biodiversity of indigenous grasses, plants, flowers and trees of India and resorting to wasteful monoculture of turf for sheer visual effect, in the process they are robbing the earth of biodiversity
Worse, there is now growing use of artificial turf by the corporate sector and municipal bodies betraying colossal ignorance of environment damage it causes as it does not absorb rain water and the run off results in increasing flooding .
Vidyadhar Date is a senior journalist and author of a book on walking, cycling, public transport