Blame our lifestyle
too for sparrow’s
Plastic, paint smell,
lack of ventilation
driving them away
Bangalore, April 12, 2018: The house sparrow, the bird that was part of people’s lives, is disappearing. While environmental degradation, and electromagnetic radiation from industries and telecommunications networks, are widely blamed, another reason for the bird’s disappearance is people’s lifestyle.
Prof. Nagesh Hegde, an award-winning journalist who writes extensively on environmental issues, informed The Observer: “Earlier, we used to collect grain waste from grocery shops. Now, the use of plastic packets leaves no grain waste for birds to consume; it is only plastic waste. Did we ever think how plastic is related to the extinction of the small common bird?”
While human beings can smell house paint only for a while, he said, sparrows can smell it for as long as a year. The birds cannot tolerate the odour; they try to escape when they smell it. Hegde also blamed mosquito-repellent coils, which are harmful to humans too,
New construction styles have put the birds in danger. Earlier, every house had proper ventilation that would allow sparrows to fly in and out. The culture of multi-storeyed buildings has neglected the concept of ventilation, leaving no shelter for sparrows, Prof. Hegde said.
Just as the decreasing number of frogs indicates that a water body is polluted, fewer sparrows around us point to the environment not being conducive to their existence.
Though the number of house sparrows has gone down, Bengaluru has more of them compared to other big cities, another expert says.
Urban conservationist Vijay Nishanth said: “Earlier, people kept water in their balconies or threw grains which fed the little creatures. They used to think them as a part of their life. Now nobody cares about these small things. Though we can see sparrows in the City market area or Cubbon Park, their number has gone down.”
Dr Sumanta Bagchi, professor of the ecology department at the Indian Institute of Science, concurred with Prof. Hegde. “Sparrows do not need trees; they live in a treeless habitat which cannot be found now,” he said.
Domestic pollution not only destroys the ecosystem, but also harms human beings, he noted.
Jayachandra Rao, a medical adviser who has lived in the city for a long time, said: “Bengaluru has no sparrows left. I used to see them around my house…. For over 20 years, there are no sparrows in the city.”
Vasundhara Devi, a homemaker who lives in an apartment at Uttarahalli, south Bengaluru, said: “It was long ago that it used to enter our homes for food. It’s sad sparrows don’t come anymore.”
The situation is no different in central Bengaluru. Suravi M, who lives on Rest House Road, near Brigade Road, said: “I have not seen sparrows for many years. People say they don’t come because of radiation from telephone wires.”