BSF @ Submerge

Date: 24 & 25 January 2020

Bengaluru Sustainability Forum partnered with Science Gallery Bengaluru in their very first exhibition season -SUBMERGE – which opened at the Bangalore International Centre on 15th December 2019 and was running till the 30th of January 2020.

– ‘What’s in your water’:
a water testing set-up in collaboration with the Foundation For Environment Monitoring (FFEM). FFEM has developed an easy to use test-kit which along with a smartphone can empower people to test a variety of water parameters. More than 500 visitors got water samples from their homes tested on site. Science Gallery Bengaluru mediators also took the testing kits to WeWork, a co-working space in Shivaji Nagar and discussed the importance of water testing.

– ‘Grow Cans’:
An exhibit by BSF Grantee artist Suresh Kumar, which introduced exhibition visitors to an easy way of growing local greens in their balconies or terraces. These Cans use less water, are better suited to Bengaluru’s environment and offer multiple health benefits. The grow cans were doubly inspiring because they came with a way to compost kitchen waste which helps to reduce the burden on the city’s waste management systems. In addition to the above, BSF organized 7 events on the weekend of 24th and 25th of January, generating conversations around Bengaluru’s water systems, citizen participation in science, and sustainable alternatives for our day to day requirements.

– ‘Sarjapura Curries Lunch’:
Participants got to enjoy traditional cuisine cooked with the greens grown in the Grow Cans exhibit, over conversation with the women from Sarjapura who prepared the meal. The women are collaborating with Suresh Kumar in reviving these almost forgotten plants. They shared their information about the greens, their benefits, recipes for cooking them as well as their thoughts and motivation behind the project. – ‘Pitch Session’ : BSF had announced it’s first ever open call for the Small Grants Program around the areas of urban water, urban biodiversity, urban climate change or the linkages between them in December 2019. We shortlisted 12 of the proposals to convince the jury why they should be awarded the grant. Prof. Chandrashekhara from GKVK was the external jury member with Mr. Dinni Lingaraj from Wipro and Prof. Mahesh Sankaran from NCBS representing BSF. Applicants got a chance to see each other’s pitches, which gave rise to some spontaneous ideas for collaboration over and above the collaboration BSF was trying to encourage through its grant programme.

– ‘Kasu Kasa/Rubbish’:
A role-playing game by BSF grantee Fields of View where the participants take on the responsibilities of Dry Waste Collection Centre Managers and negotiate the push and pulls of economy versus the environment. The game saw players from diverse backgrounds like law, development sector and corporate sector bring their experiences to the problems of waste management in the city. The post-game discussion on impact and use of technology, data, behaviour modification etc on managing the waste problem brought home the need and importance of segregation.

– ‘Ulsoor Lake Water Walk’:
Water walk with BSF grantees Suma Rao and Shubha Ramachandran from BIOME Environmental Trust. This was an off-site event where participants were taken around Ulsoor Lake and introduced to the wetland system of Bengaluru and the role it plays in the city. The participants also visited the sewage treatment plant plant at the lake and discuss what a holistic model of lake and water management could look like.

– ‘Exploring Citizen Science’:
Presentations and discussion with citizen science practitioners. Dr. R. Prabhakar from India Biodiversity Portal moderated the session with Prof. Veena Srinivasan from ATREE, Samuel Rajkumar from FFEM, Dr. Jai Asundi from C-STEP, Anisha Jayadevan from Cafe Oikos and Gautam Prakash from REAP-BENEFIT who came together and shared their experiences of working on citizen science projects in Bengaluru. They enumerated the problems and challenges they faced, their hopes and possibilities for the future and introduced the audience to key questions like who owns contributed data in a citizen science project.

– ‘The Invisible Water Warriors’:
Mr. Avinash Krishnamurthy from BIOME Environmental Trust and Dr. Obalesh, founder of Thamate and convener of the Safi Karmachari Kaval Samiti curated an interactive session with well diggers, plumbers and manual scavengers. These workers from the water sector take on the burden of making our water systems work even as they stay on the fringes of our consciousness, not to be acknowledged until the system breaks down. The audience heard their stories in their own words. The news of the hospitalization and death of a manual scavenger received by Dr. Obalesh in the middle of the interaction, underscored the need to bring these stories into the mainstream.

– ‘What’s In Your Water?’:
This was a continuation of the weekly water testing in collaboration with FFEM. Samuel Rajkumar and team from FFEM walked about 60 visitors through the process of using a smartphone, their app and chemical reagents to test water. Such a set up potentially empowers citizens to take control of the quality of their water, be it to monitor local water resources or see if their drinking water is indeed potable.

BSF would like to thank Science Gallery Bengaluru, BIOME Environmental trust and Foundation for environmental moni-toring (FFEM) for their support during this event