Thursday, May 16, 2019

Wells at Cubbon Park : In the media

 

 



https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/rejuvenation-efforts-to-save-water-at-cubbon-park/article22497224.ece

https://www.deccanherald.com/content/611997/tcs-10k-starts-cubbon-park.html

https://m.timesofindia.com/city/bengaluru/seven-old-open-wells-will-be-revived-to-water-cubbon-park/articleshow/58600845.cms

http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/bengaluru/2018/sep/24/open-wells-give-cubbon-park-80000-litres-water-per-day-1876187.html

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Nallurhalli: Vision for Lake Development


Come summer, Water shortage and wells drying it is a common seen around Bangalore.  Communities living around lakes are coming together to revive lakes which helps in ground water recharge and flood control.




Nallurhalli Lake is part of a 1000 years old lakes network in Whitefield. On May 12, 2019 communities living around Nallurhalli lake came together to brainstorm the Lake Development Vision.  Friends of Lake, Biome Environmental Trust, Next Drop were part of this meeting as facilitators.

      


We saw a huge turnout of people from  Nallurhalli, communities living around the lake and stakeholders.  Subgroups were formed for working on Solid Waste Management, Water Quality and medical waste dumping in the water. Various other requirements for the Lake were also agreed upon.

     


Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Biodiversity Walk at Jakkur Lake

ATREE and Biome organized a Biodiversity Walk at Jakkur Lake on Saturday, March 30th. The walk started at 7am and was lead by Aswathy Joseph. Aswathy is a biology teacher and is extremely passionate about nature, education and art. During the walk she shared some fascinating information about the plants in the lake area and about the animal life they support. Her stories highlighted the mutual dependence the plants and animals share.
Aswathy sharing stories with the participants

Right where we started our walk stood species of ficus trees, commonly known as Cluster Fig Tree. She said that the ficus trees had been a keystone species as over 1200 species of birds, insects and mammals depended on the tree for their survival. An interesting story she shared was that of the female Fig Wasp that enters the fig through the tiny hole at the bottom. During this process the wasp usually tend to lose its wings. The female fig wasp pollinates the flower and lays her eggs in the fig. These wasps spend the rest of their short lived lives inside the fig. The newly hatched male wasps mate with the newly hatched female wasps and create holes in the fig through which the female wasps can fly out. The female wasps then go searching for a new fig to lay her eggs in and pollinates the new fig flower in the process.

Fun fact: What we call the fig fruit is actually the flower of the tree
While walking further we came across a Black Babul Tree, Aswathy shared another mutual dependence story of the acacia plant and the ants, aka 'bioengineers' that live on it. The plant produces nectaries and the young leaves have protein bodies that are used as food by ants. The tree also has thorns, to keep herbivores away, which are used by the ants create nests and lay eggs. The ants in turn act as bodyguards and protect the tree from other insects and prevent other plants from growing on it. This way the ants have access to food and shelter while the tree is protected from deterioration.
Black Babul Tree by the lake

Another story she mentioned was that of the symbiotic relationship shared by the Monarch Butterfly and the Milkweed plants. The butterflies enjoy the nectar from the Milkweed plants and in return pollinates the plant. The Monarch butterfly's larvae feed on the Milkweed leaves, this keeps most predators away as they dislike the taste and hence avoid eating Monarch butterfly and its larvae.

Aswathy standing next to a Milkweed plant

The walk was followed by a water quality testing demonstration, held at the Outdoor Learning Center. Saurabh from the Foundation for Environmental Monitoring (FFEM) showed us how a pH test worked. He also spoke about how Nitrates and Phosphates tests are conducted. We had three volunteers who gave their phones for calibration, which allows the volunteers to accurately measure the water quality of the lake.
Water quality testing demonstration by Saurabh from FFEM

Some enthusiastic participants stayed on after the water quality testing to learn more about the different types of butterflies that existed around the lake. It was a well spent Saturday morning with over 50 participants who were engaged in learning about the biodiversity and the water quality at Jakkur Lake. 

Monday, April 1, 2019

Groundwater Recharge Workshop on 30th March 2019, at Rainbow Drive Layout


The invite ...

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Greetings !!

With the borewells going deeper and groundwater levels falling, it becomes critical for us to recharge groundwater. Recharge wells have proved to be good structures to put water into the ground. Rainbow Drive has been championing groundwater recharge for a long time now with 200+ recharge wells on their 34 acre property.

Having worked extensively on groundwater recharge, Biome Environmental Trust (Biome) has launched a campaign called “Million Recharge Wells for Bengaluru - Reviving our groundwater responsibility". Every citizen of Bengaluru, whether they live in individual homes, layouts, gated communities, institutions or even industries can contribute to the Million Wells movement.

If you want to know more about the campaign or want to understand recharge wells and the process of digging recharge wells by traditional well diggers or want to understand regulations around rainwater harvesting in Bengaluru, then please join us on Saturday 30th March 2019, at Rainbow Drive Layout on Sarjapura road. Rainbow Drive has very kindly agreed to host this event on their campus. The event will be mostly outdoors, will involve walking around, seeing the recharge wells and other water management practices at Rainbow Drive and engaging with the well diggers

Time: 10 am- 12 noon
Venue: Rainbow Drive Layout, Sarjapura road
Meeting point: https://goo.gl/maps/E9NixaZZrc32

Please RSVP aditi@biome-solutions.com or uma@biome-solutions.com for confirmation so that we can get the number of people attending the event.
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We had a huge turnout - much larger than expected. The event went off well. The Questions got us to to start on an FAQ that we shall shortly share

 

Waste water and Ground water workshop on 10th March 2019 at Mantri Glades


Bellandur RWAs came together to understand and manage their waste water and groundwater better. A workshop was held on 10th March 2019 at Mantri Glades, Sarjapura Road.

Resulted in a 2500 well challenge for Bellandur !!

Details here
https://twitter.com/kdevforum/status/1104731292585754625
https://www.facebook.com/savebellandur2018/posts/417843425454064



Impactathon: Team Salila Wins

The Impactathon 2019 (https://impactathon.in/) was an event organised by AppDynamics to bridge the gap between problems and problem-solvers. The objective of the event was to bring to the fore, issues around Water Quality and Urban Livability, and incentivise tech innovators to apply their problem-solving skills to discover disruptive solutions for these problems.

Our team Salila (Sunder, Srikanth, Shubha and Yassir) won first place from amongst many participating teams. Our solution was to remove the callibration process ( a laborious and time consuming process) while using the FFEM water quality test kit (http://ffem.io/). The team is quite thrilled that the hack will actually make it into the product



Details of the solution are here https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByO9XBfI-5DWM3N0UDdRWXdGVDJHVjBjOTZ4WGlZZ2pkRzBB/view?usp=sharing


 

 


Saturday, March 16, 2019

Kaikondrahalli Kere Habba 2019


The fifth annual Kere Habba at Kaikondrahalli lake, was held this past Sunday, February 17th. It was a sunrise to sunset event, the day started at 6 am with bird watching, and ended with a music concert at 6pm. The habba had other events like a 5K run, a film making workshop, a conference on lake rejuvenation and a science activities center for kids, to name a few. There was a designated citizen corner, where Biome Environmental Trust (Biome) along with Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) set up a stall to educate the public about the Citizen Science and Lakes Dashboard, and generally about water management. Interested citizens stopped by our stall to learn how the dashboard worked, what kind of chemicals the testing kit could analyze and how they could participate in the water quality testing of the lake water. Some wanted to know if the testing kits could be used to check the quality of water supplied by tankers to their apartments and some others wanted to know what they could do for rainwater harvesting in their homes/ apartments.
Shashank, Shubha, Suma and Sanjana at the ATREE and Biome stall
Interested students reading our wetland primer
Interested citizens learning more about water management

Saurabh from Foundation for Environmental Monitoring (FFEM) joined us to demonstrate how the smart phone based water quality testing kits could be used. All information collected from the app is directly uploaded to the lakes dashboard, which can be accessed through this link, blrlakesdashboard.org. Anyone interested in being part of the citizen group that tests the water quality at Kaikondrahalli and Kasavanahalli lake can reach out to waters@biome-solutions.com.

Saurabh from FFEM demonstrating how to use the testing kits





Water Entrepreneurs- Borewell Camera Inspection

When borewells go dry, a helpful solution is to use a camera to see inside the borewell. Borewell camera services can be used to identify the depth, the static water level and moisture areas inside the borewell. Market bought cameras are extremely expensive but water entrepreneurs such as Karthik uses LCD screens, batteries, long cables and second hand rear view cameras from cars to build their own borewell cameras. Karthik is based in Devanahalli and charges around Rs 1000 to Rs 2000 for camera inspection depending on the depth of the borewell. He can be reached on 82177 82660.


This is a picture of Karthik, a water entrepreneur based out of Devanahalli

Other entrepreneurs that provide borewell camera inspection services are:

Anil Kumar- 99726 98191
Devaraj- 98803 40290
Manjunath- 95353 21790
Ashok- 91649 81818
Madhu- 84538 44440
Murthy- 98808 15022
Munishamgouda- 97414 25280
Vijay- 91412 26452
Shivanna- 94807 07983
Ramesh- 99729 15187

Capturing Safe Water Learning with Digital Tools


16th March 2019, Bangalore

Context

INREM foundation is working on the issue of fluoride contamination close to a year now in Bagepalli taluk, which has the highest fluoride affected habitations in the district of Chikkaballapur. Last year, we organised a stakeholders meeting where officers of education, health department, women and child welfare showed interest to train their staff with us.  

The education department was first to request and we prepared ourselves for the training. But it was postponed due to some official work. We planned to deploy our new course Fluoride ABC which is available on ForWater knowledge platform. It is a combination of 24 safe water cards to give basic information about the issue of fluorosis to learners. Last week, Mr Subhaan Saab, Senior Officer with the health department in Bagepalli informed us to do a training for their team on the 14th March 2019.

Why are we doing this?

Over the last year, our field team members Manjula, Manjunath (former team member) and Naveen have done many training to several frontline workers using safe water cards. These trainings have been happening in their field visits i.e. in schools, angaanwadis, Primary health centre or meetings at public point in villages. But we have no clear information about learners and most importantly their understanding. A beginning is made to document such learners with the help of digital tools in our recent training.

























How are we doing it?

All of us in our learning career have come across the use of OMR (Optical Mark Recognition), darkening those circles with pen/pencil used for evaluation of our learning. We are trying to integrate the same methodology in our trainings. We work in places which are often very remote, have poor access to internet and smart devices. We are trying to bridge this gap making evaluation of learners easier.

Using OMR Evaluator app, questions with multiple choice for assessing the learners was set. Right answers were marked and OMR sheet was generated. One cannot enter the questions in the app, the questions are set outside the app. The group of 20 members was divided into two groups i.e. one with doctors and other with ANMs (Auxiliary Nurse Midwife). 24 cards in 2 rounds were circulated among the group members. Small discussion about the topics took place for about 5-7 minutes after first set of cards were completed. 

Post the discussion, questions to assess the learning were distributed among the participants. The responses of the learners were recorded in the OMR sheets. These sheets were later scanned by clicking upon the exam set created in the app. The app captures responses only by comparing with the ‘marked right answers’ and give result of the participants instantaneously. It doesn’t give wrong responses of the participant, but shows number of the right ones.




The app tabulates the results and create excel sheet with roll number, their scores, which question number is marked right or wrong using 1 and 0 coding respectively. Such excel sheets can be sent to your linked email id and simple analysis as shown below can be done.



What we learned?

  • This kind of evaluation is useful to capture the learning of hundreds of participants in training, within a very short period.
  • It is useful to have a pre and post quiz to capture the learning from the training. Due to last minute changes, we could not do this.
  • The font of the question set generated is small. We relied on enlarging the font by doing photocopy of the original copy. The app could not capture responses in such zoomed copies. It must be enlarged in the original document using appropriate scale. This is important to ensure alignment of the borders is not disturbed and the scanning for responses is easier by the app.
  • There will be confusion to assign roll numbers. In a larger group, it is advisable to assign roll numbers upfront on the sheet and give clear instructions to darkening the circles preferably with pencils.
  • Other details like adding labels for collecting contact details needs to be written in the master copy.


Kiran Kumar Sen

  

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Biome Environmental Trust at Lakshya 2019: A student led initiative of St. Joseph's College of Commerce

Biome Environmental Trust was invited to partner and collaborate with St. Joseph’s College of Commerce on an event called LAKSHYA, 2019. This is an initiative of students of St. Joseph’s College of Commerce, Bengaluru. This year’s event was held on 11th January 2019. LAKSHYA is aimed at engaging students in spreading awareness and arriving at potential solutions through interesting and skill based festive events and mass platforms like the social media. The theme of LAKSHYA 2019 was underground water depletion. The event had 4-theme based competitions where the teams of 3 students from several colleges across Karnataka as well as few other states participated.

The event was very well managed. It was great to collaborate with the team. We hope to continue the partnership with further initiatives.

Glimpses of the event:




 













Display Board at Kaikondrahalli- Citizen Science Project

Biome has been a part of Citizen Science project that aims at fostering knowledge based engagement for citizens around lakes. As a part of engaging citizens, it is important to educate citizens about their lakes, it’s features, its community and about administration of the lakes. In this context, it was appropriate to have Display boards that give information installed at lakes.

Display board at Kaikondrahalli lake:

4*3 ft display board at Kaikondrahalli lake

While Biome Environmental Trust(Biome) has spearheaded this activity, MAPSAS, the lake community has provided support in terms of getting necessary approvals, providing necessary information, and providing infrastructure required for execution. 

ATREE(Ashoka Trust for Research in Environment and Ecology), has made this entire project possible by not only mobilising CSR funds from Oracle but also spearheading and driving the overall Citizen Science project. 

Biome has also worked with creative designers like Adira Andlay, who designed the display board and her creative ideas, thoughts have shown expression in the display board. The printing and installation of the display board was done by Mr. Prasad of Signhive Printers. 

Rekha Arun, the translator of text from English to Kannada has helped us reach out to a larger community by her work.

We would also like to thank BBMP for its continued support in this project.


Biome Environmental Trust