Biome Environmental Trust BET

Biome Environmental Trust (The Trust) has been set up with the aim to conduct research, public education, practice-to-policy bridging and policy advocacy in the areas of land-use & land-use planning, energy, water and sanitation. The key concerns of all its activities in these areas are ecological and social sustainability in India and the developing world. In an era of emphasis on economic growth coupled with the threats of climate change, The Trust seeks to evolve solutions to critical resource problems of the present and future. Concerns of Equity, Environment and Economy are all equally integral to the Trust's endeavors. Its research encompasses scientific, technological, socio-economic and policy research. The overall approach is solution centric and one of knowledge-based activism through Action Research, engagement with citizenry, policy advocacy and engagement with governance.

The origins of the Trust lies in the work of more than fifteen years of practice and research of a group of Architecture, Urban Planning, Water & Sanitation, Energy and Information Technology professionals. The founding Trustees are an Ecological Architect and a Water & Sanitation expert of national and international repute. They are members of a number of policy/advisory committees of local, regional and national governments. Collectively the group has 100+ years of experience in Land-use, water & sanitation and related issues. Knowledge sharing, working with partner groups and an entrepreneurial spirit are the corner-stone of its work culture.

The Trust has been engaging with a wide spectrum of people and Institutions - families, residential colonies, apartment complexes, hospitality industry, manufacturing and services industries, educational institutions and governance institutions - on land-use and Watsan issues. It has a wide set of well established relationships with communities and institutions in India. More recently it has been conducting research on "responsible water use by the Information Technology (IT) sector" in partnership with a leading IT company based in Bengaluru - the objective of this research is to lay out a broad framework for the sector to follow to ensure responsibility in water-use. This research also involves a significant groundwater dimension given that many IT firms are completely dependent on groundwater as their water source. It is also conducting research on different dimensions of "honey sucker" (vacuum trucks that empty septic tanks and leach-pits and then compost the contents to be used as farm manure) - an urban sanitation solution that the informal water-markets of Bengaluru have found for households not networked to sewerage mainlines. The research focuses on, protocols necessary to ensure complete sanitation and how the solution can be adapted and institutionalized within the city's system as a possible eco-sanitation solution.

The Trust is also currently working with urban and rural schools in and around Bengaluru City to implement ecological water practices in the schools simultaneously achieving education goals, environmental goals and goals of resource security for the schools. In the rural context, it also serves as an excellent starting and entry point to water and sanitation issues in the villages.


  Siddharth Seshan

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