Posted on Posted in Contributors, Silver Contributor, Stories

111
Untitled

Housing and sustainability in Bangalore, India

Throughout my time in India, I found the basic human need of housing and shelter to be the main problem I could see right before my eyes. There were a lot of slums in Bangalore, there was one particular slum based right outside the Sumanahalli Centre for leprosy and the conditions there were extremely unhygienic. I remember seeing very young kids with no clothes on, some with just a vest on and while it rained they were washing themselves in the puddles. Housing consisted of boards, wood, hay and clothes on the roof for insulation, it was horrific to see that living conditions really exist like this for people. I remember seeing garbage everywhere, they lived amongst a lot of waste, there was little to no supply of bins or services for rubbish collections.  It shocked me, it was quite distressing to see these conditions and definitely an eye opener for me to what really matters in life. I really began asking myself- how come we are so blessed to have so much here in Ireland to be grateful for while hundreds and thousands of people in India are living in these conditions? It isn’t fair. How can we make the world a more equal place to live in? We need to ask these questions, we need to be more critical and these topics need to be discussed at national and international level. The provision of housing to families, especially kids, is a responsibility of the state who are not fulfilling their responsibilities for basic human needs. But aside from that, is there a wider, global responsibility if the government are not addressing these humane conditions. I wholeheartedly believe that cities need to work towards a more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable environment but before making any city inclusive, safe and resilient, the primary need, especially in my experience, is the need for sustainable housing for families. This is one of the SDG goals- to make cities more sustainable. Bangalore really needs a lot of work, infrastructure, funding and workers to make the city sustainable. While there are some parts better than others, there are many parts of the city where there is a lot of human suffering being experienced. While in India, housing and sustainability were topics that emerged as part of our weekly development education sessions that I co-facilitated. These were really popular discussions amongst our volunteers because they strongly felt that if there was an efficient refuse system put in place, it would make a difference to the people in many ways. Firstly, health could improve once all the dirt, toxic air, smells, droppings and rubbish were cleaned up. Secondly, it could be a way of providing jobs for people. If it even improved health and employment for people in Bangalore that would contribute to the overall wellbeing of people. This can be the foundation to create a sustainable city. If the streets were cleared of the enormous amounts of rubbish, you would be surprised how much land will be actually available to build houses. With a little investment and some manpower, this can really be achieved. This may seem like a simple solution but it really is just one practical way to even create a foundation for the much bigger issues of homelessness, poverty, sustainability and healthcare. It must be noted that while cleaning up the streets may seem like a simple solution, that would actually take a lot of time, resources, manpower and money to put in place for all of India if were looking at it from a country perspective.  We had very passionate discussions about these topics while in India and I think it is important to write about them and get people aware of the challenges that face other people in the world especially when their government is not taking any action.  What can we do as global citizens? It is a government issue, one that should be addressed by the government and failing that, we have a global responsibility to act. However, it will take a long time to come up with and implement a long term, stable solution. We need a step by step plan, a process and people on board.

The images below show the refuse situation in parts of Bangalore and the need for more infrastructure, sustainability and development.

 

Bangalore really needs a lot of work, infrastructure, funding and workers to make the city sustainable. While there are some parts better than others, there are many parts of the city where there is a lot of human suffering being experienced. While in India, housing and sustainability were topics that emerged as part of our weekly development education sessions that I co-facilitated. These were really popular discussions amongst our volunteers because they strongly felt that if there was an efficient refuse system put in place, it would make a difference to the people in many ways.

Firstly, health could improve once all the dirt, toxic air, smells, droppings and rubbish were cleaned up.

Secondly, it could be a way of providing jobs for people. If it even improved health and employment for people in Bangalore that would contribute to the overall wellbeing of people. This can be the foundation to create a sustainable city. If the streets were cleared of the enormous amounts of rubbish, you would be surprised how much land will be actually available to build houses. With a little investment and some manpower, this can really be achieved. This may seem like a simple solution but it really is just one practical way to even create a foundation for the much bigger issues of homelessness, poverty, sustainability and healthcare. It must be noted that while cleaning up the streets may seem like a simple solution, that would actually take a lot of time, resources, manpower and money to put in place for all of India if were looking at it from a country perspective. We had very passionate discussions about these topics while in India and I think it is important to write about them and get people aware of the challenges that face other people in the world especially when their government is not taking any action.

What can we do as global citizens? It is a government issue, one that should be addressed by the government and failing that, we have a global responsibility to act. However, it will take a long time to come up with and implement a long term, stable solution. We need a step by step plan, a process and people on board. The images below show the refuse situation in parts of Bangalore and the need for more infrastructure, sustainability and development.

About Author:

Name: Sarah Gallagher
Award: Silver Award
SDG: 11