Session 2

Bio-Inspired Sustainable Solutions for Human Induced Environmental Disasters
Ranjana Siva1, Tarun Kumar2, Meenakshi Piplani1, Kriti Bhalla1, Vishal Mishra3
1M. S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bangalore, India; 2Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India; 3Vijaya Vittala Institute of Technology, Bangalore, India

This paper aims to establish a relationship between the impacts caused by human developments and the severe effects of natural disasters in the Indian subcontinent. Various human activities like unchecked construction, illegal mining, and deforestation have aggravated the effects of natural geophysical hazards and disrupted the environment at large. There have been 180 odd recorded cases of flash floods, over 40 cloud bursts and droughts world around taking lives of hundreds to millions. Loss of life; Financial, economic and infrastructural damages are some of the effects of natural disasters. For instance in Chennai, the encroachment of wetlands and their catchment areas has caused repetitive floods in the city. Eco-sensitive zones (ESZs) are created to act as “shock-absorbers” to the specially protected areas such as natural landscape, wildlife and wetlands by regulating the activities around such areas. Flouting the laws by constructing and vigorously using the eco-sensitive zones, knowingly worsen the episodes of natural disasters. Breaching of ESZs in the Indian pilgrimage city, Kedarnath, caused devastating floods with around 5000 casualties.
Occurrence of a natural disaster and how an urban environment handled the same compared to the natural environment was critically studied. Taking examples from the nature, indigenous and bio-inspired sustainable methods to mitigate the human induced environmental disasters were devised. Policy amendments, better implementation of environmental laws and revision of bye-laws were suggested at an urban level.
Combating this problem can help in achieving the ‘Climate Action’ goal of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The sustainable solutions suggested can improve the present condition of urban areas when faced with a natural disaster. These solutions may be replicated in the other cities with similar climatic conditions and bring a world of change to the current scenario. This study thus summarizes the bio-inspired sustainable solutions to human induced environmental disasters.