‘Need to preserve vegetations that hold rainwater’

Kolkata, Jan 12 (IANS) Opting for and preserving vegetations that hold monsoon rainwater, such as paddy and coconut plantations, is one aspect to clean the Ganga, said architect and planner Dilip Da Cunha.

“One aspect of treating the Ganga is to start with the monsoon, hold the water wherever it falls, hold the sewage wherever it is created, treat it at source, treat it wherever it is, and start looking at entire ground (where rain falls) and not only river banks,” Dilip told IANS here.

Da Cunha is an architect and planner. He is Adjunct Professor at the School of Design, University of Pennsylvania, US.

Advocating a different approach, Da Cunha said it is about a shift in the imagination to (view) rain “as a ground”.

To that effect, the planner recommended viewing vegetation as rainwater holdings. However, he lamented India is moving away from that notion.

“If you look at paddy fields, many of them are driven by rainwater holdings because rice is grown at that time and that is the way of actually holding the rain… paddy fields and terraces. It’s a complete non-linear system,” Da Cunha said.

“Look at coconut plantations. I would move towards those vegetations that would hold water. Unfortunately, we are not going towards that but losing those vegetations,” he added.

Da Cunha was talking to IANS on the sidelines of the International Symposium on Water Urbanism and Infrastructure Development in Eco Sensitive Zone here.

In collaboration with his partner Anuradha Mathur, Da Cunha is author of ‘Mississippi Floods: Designing a Shifting Landscape’, ‘Deccan Traverses: the Making of Bangalore’s Terrain’ and ‘Soak: Mumbai in an Estuary’, among other works.