Though Mumbai still has a long way to go when it comes to protecting the environment, some parts of the city are doing their bit for conserving energy and natural resources. In Powai, recycled water is used for flushing and construction activities. Public parks and housing societies also reuse water for gardening and horticulture. The Heritage Garden, a manicured park outlined by a jogging track, has a rain water harvesting pond.
“Percolation wells on the several layered hilly slopes supply water during the monsoons. Rain comes down the hills through catchments into this man-made pond,” says environmentalist Elsie Gabriel.
According to Gabriel, the hills surrounding Powai are used to harvest rain instead of simply letting all the water flow into the Powai lake or the nearby Mithi river. “The pond at the Heritage Garden was especially created for rain water harvesting and it helps in supplying water for secondary use to some building complexes in the area,” she adds. The Nirvana Gardens within the Hiranandani Complex at Powai also uses recycled water for gardening.
“Conservation of natural resources and the implementation of eco-friendly practices are the need of the hour. If we exhaust all our natural wealth and fill the earth with greenhouse gases, future generations will curse us,” says builder and developer Niranjan Hiranandani.
Citizens and developers have also initiated a sewage treatment plant in Powai which has been operational since the last 15 years.
Also, newer buildings and structures, with an emphasis on environmental friendliness, are coming up in the area. The BG House and CRISIL House, both commercial buildings within the Hiranandani Complex, are built on eco-friendly principles.
The buildings rely on natural lighting, a green cover and a roof garden to ensure minimal carbon dioxide emissions. The design of the structures allows ample sunlight while keeping out heat, thus reducing electricity consumption. Meanwhile, photovoltaic panels capture sunlight and generate solar energy.
“Environment and energy go hand-in-hand. Hence, energy conservation and the eco-friendly movement will be the main drivers of change in the near future,” says Hiranandani.
The Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) in Powai has also undertaken a green drive. Showers and taps with a lower water flow reduce wastage in laboratories, toilets and hostel rooms.