Indore: Environmental degradation can cause irreversible damage to cities if action is not taken now, officials warned on Thursday (May 18). They said environmental sustainability and climate change can no longer be ignored in urban development and stressed the need to incorporate these concerns into all upcoming projects and policies. At an Urban 20 (U20) event here, Kunal Kumar, Mission Director of the Smart Cities Mission under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), said,
Be it Panaji, Thane, Surat, our cities could suffer permanent damage if their green areas are not protected now. We need to take immediate measures to improve the state of the environment in our cities.
The U20 is a parallel event to the G20 summit, which gathers leaders from the world’s largest economies. While the G20 focuses on global economic issues, the U20 focuses specifically on urban issues and their impact on sustainable development, climate change, and social inclusion.
Under India’s G20 presidency, the U20 Mayors’ Summit will take place in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, in July.
Neeraj Mandloi, Principal Secretary of the Urban Development and Housing Department in Madhya Pradesh, said:
We cannot ignore the environmental sustainability factor anymore and it should not be limited to just tree plantation. It should reflect in our planning and actions.
“We need to keep environment and climate change in mind whenever we take up a new project or frame a new policy,” he said.
MoHUA spokesperson Rajeev Jain said India acknowledges the need for climate-resilient and sustainable development considering rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, increased frequency of extreme weather events like cyclones and floods, and sea-level rise globally.
Mr Kumar said 2 billion people are estimated to be added to cities worldwide in the next 25 years, with 90 per cent of the growth predicted in Asia and Africa.
India and Nigeria alone are expected to account for half of this increase. Currently, around 500 million people reside in Indian cities, a number set to double in the next 25 years.
To match the pace of population growth, Mr Kumar stressed the need for innovative approaches and aggressive economic growth.
The U20 Mayors’ Summit in Ahmedabad will focus on encouraging environmentally responsive behaviour, ensuring water security, leveraging local potential and identity, reinventing urban governance and planning frameworks and catalysing digital urban futures.
The Global Climate Risk Index 2021 had ranked India seventh in the list of most affected countries in terms of exposure and vulnerability to climate risk events.
Nine Indian states including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, and Punjab are among the world’s top 50 regions at risk of damage to the built environment due to climate change, according to the ‘Gross Domestic Climate Risk’ report published in February.
The discussions during the U20 event highlighted the importance of data-driven decision-making, promoting digital innovations in service delivery, and inclusive planning involving local communities. Public-private collaboration for sustainable development, citizen-led innovation in design, and access to global funding were emphasized. The event stressed the significance of building strong local communities, supporting artisans and entrepreneurs, and utilizing data-based technologies for global best practice sharing.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diarrhoea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.