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How Indian city can follow low carbon generation?

  • Category
    Ecology and Environment
  • Published
    10th Jun, 2023


By 2050, seven billion people will be living in cities which can increase the carbon dioxide release, along with other greenhouse gases and can poses a serious health hazard.

India and urban planning:

  • India is witnessing one of the largest urban growth spurts in history. However, three-quarters of the infrastructure that will exist in cities by 2050 is yet to be built.
  • This presents Indian cities with an unprecedented opportunity to look at urban planning and development through a long-term strategic lens to enable economic, environment and social impact.
  • We cannot afford development that is not sustainable in our climate crisis-risked times.
  • The IPCC’s latest report suggests that smart urban planning can mitigate the effects of climate change.

Carbon emission of Cities:

  • Cities in the year 2020 were responsible for up to 72% of global greenhouse gas emissions (up from 62% in 2015).
  • For the world to have a chance of limiting global warming to within 1.5? of pre-industrial levels, cities need to act fast and financing would need to be boosted significantly
  • Aggressive climate action could bring city emissions to net-zero by 2050 but failing to act could instead see urban emissions double in that time.

What are the Issues Regarding Urban Infrastructure?

  • Climate Non-Friendly:Urban infrastructure development results in high economic value-add but often lead to unequal and inequitable growth.
    • Negative externalities such as air and water pollution, climate change, flooding, and extreme heat events impinge on the economic value of urban infrastructure.
    • The houses are built without ventilation, using building materials that do not provide insulation and with architectural design that does not work with nature - the climate crisis will exacerbate these risks.
  • Age-Old Planning Techniques:Town and country planning acts in India have largely remained unchanged over the past 50 years, relying on techniques set up by the British.
    • Cities still create land use and regulatory control-based master plans which, on their own, are ineffective in planning and managing cities.
    • Several city-centric issues such as air pollutionurban flooding, and droughts exist as obstacles in holistic development of urban India all of which point to infrastructural shortcomings and inadequate planning.
  • Procedural Delays and Lax Implementation:Master plans face prolonged delays in preparation, sanctioning and implementation. They lack the mandate for integration with other sectoral infrastructure plans and largely remain as wish lists.
    • Even with provisions of rainwater harvesting, sustainable urban drainage systems, etc., in regulatory mechanisms like the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), adoption at user end as well as enforcement agencies remains weak.

Laws related to Pollution in India:

  • Article 21: Environment is directly related with article 21 of Constitution of India which deals with right to life of individual.
  • The two main laws that regulate air pollution in India
    • The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 (Air Act) and
    • Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (EPA).

Government interventions:

  • System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) Portal
  • Air Quality Index: AQI has been developed for eight pollutants viz. PM2.5, PM10, Ammonia, Lead, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, ozone, and carbon monoxide.
  • Graded Response Action Plan (for Delhi)
  • For Reducing Vehicular Pollution:
    • BS-VI Vehicles,
    • Push for Electric Vehicles (EVs),
    • Odd-Even Policy as an emergency measure (for Delhi)
    • New Commission for Air Quality Management
  • Subsidy to farmers for buying Turbo Happy Seeder (THS) Machine for reducing stubble burning.
  • National Air Quality Monitoring Programme (NAMP):
  • Under NAMP, four air pollutants viz. SO2, NO2, PM10, and PM2.5 have been identified for regular monitoring at all locations.

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