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Need for climate-friendly cities

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By: Vijay Garg

The sun destroys the earth and animals with its fierce rays. The body absorbs moisture from the sea and other sources of water. As a result, the temperature rises higher than expected, which causes hot winds to blow. These winds are called Loo.

Now these winds are turning more than fifty cities of the country into ‘heat islands’. In Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh the mercury remains between 43 to 47 degrees. Day temperature in Barmer, Rajasthan 48 Degree and due to hot winds in Kashmir the temperature has reached 34 degrees.

Usually, hot winds last for three to eight days and there used to be relief for three-four days due to rain in one or two days, but this time the hot winds continued to blow. Due to this, many cities have turned into heat islands and are no longer habitable.

The main reasons for this are considered to be increase in urbanization and decrease in greenery area. In general, the meaning of island is taken from that elevated place surrounded by water in sea or river valleys, around which water if filled.

But now those urban areas which are scorching due to high temperatures are being called heat islands. Most of the heat islands are causing influx into densely populated urban areas. Such areas have to face higher temperatures than the outer areas.

High-rise buildings, CC roads, footpaths and other infrastructural developments are to blamed for this. Due to less greenery, areas with high temperatures turn into heat islands. The day temperature increase in these areas is around 1- 7 degrees and the night temperature increases by about 2-5 degrees.

Interestingly, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) in a study of nine cities with different climates in the country, found that in cities like Jaipur, during high temperature days, 99.52 percent of the city becomes a heat island at the center of hot winds. Rajneesh Sarin, director of Sustainable Habitat Programme, says that heat center is the area where the land surface temperature (LST) is repeatedly recorded above 45 degrees in the plains in six years or more.

Heat centers are expanding due to reduction in the area of ​​water structures. The existence of ponds, rivers and lakes which maintain greenery and moisture in cities is diminishing. This water logging provided protection from the heat. Due to their shrinking, barren lands and forests of brick, cement and concrete are increasing in and around the cities, which are increasing the heat.

CSE has conducted this survey in Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Pune, Jaipur, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Bhubaneswar. But the cities where survey has not been conducted from this perspective can also become a victim of similar circumstances.

The causes of this disaster related to man-made pollution are modern development and increasing urbanization. Due to these reasons, the winds have started wandering and taking the form of heat wave.

Storms like tsunami are the side effects of these stray winds. According to the report of America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, not only India but many countries of South Asia are struggling with heat waves. The possibility of heat waves in these countries has increased 45 times.

These countries include India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar. In Vietnam, the situation has become so bad that due to the heat, many ponds have completely dried up and millions of tonnes of fish have died.

Heat waves may increase five times in the West Asian countries Syria, Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon. This is the third consecutive year of deadly heat waves in Asia. El Nino is also believed to be one of the reasons for this. Due to the hot winds coming from the Pacific Ocean, heat waves are blowing in the world.

Words like intense sunlight and heat have become incomprehensible on every tongue. In the summer season, such areas where the temperature is much higher than the average temperature and this condition remains the same for five days, then it is called ‘heat wave’.

In this unbearable strange weather condition, moisture also gets absorbed. These hot and cold shocks become the cause of heatstroke and disease. The average temperature of any area, what it will be in any season, is calculated and evaluated on the basis of data of the last 30 years.

The heat wave also affects the monsoons. A good monsoon is considered synonymous with stray hot winds, because there is a deep relationship between heat and rain. The way unseasonal rains turned Dubai city into floods has negated the modern urban development model.

The same situation is being seen in Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore. Therefore, we have to build cities adapted to climate change. The main reason for winds becoming hot or stray is the reversal of seasonal cycles and global warming.

That is why scientists are claiming that this time the cataclysm will not come from the earth but from celestial heat. We consider the sky to be lifeless and hollow, but in reality it is not hollow. It is not without reason that it has been considered the fifth element in Indian philosophy.

The truth is that if God had not created the sky element, we probably would not have existed today. We can’t even breathe. These four elements, earth, water, fire and air, remain active only by taking energy from the sky. All these elements are interdependent.

If the existence of one diminishes, the others will also have to go through the same stage of extinction. The feeling of inner energy and happiness in the body of every living being is possible only through the element of sky, hence it is also called Brahmatattva.

Therefore, for the conservation of nature, there is a need to free oneself from materialistic instruments of happiness. Due to climate change, the frequency of natural disasters is also increasing and the pressure of exploitation on aquatic sources is increasing. In such adverse circumstances, we will have to develop the habit of living with the difficult conditions created by nature. And serious attention will have to be paid to environmental protection.

(The author is a Retired Principal)


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