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'Cities are the major polluters'

Last updated: 03 October, 2011
Bangalore, Oct 3, DHNS: 0:01 IST

They consume 75 per cent of energy and emit 80 per cent of greenhouse gases

Cities have become major contributors of greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants responsible for climate change.

Speaking on the theme ‘Cities and Climate Change’ on Monday, Urban Designer and Planner and adjunct faculty at RV School of Architecture Brinda Sastry said it was imperative to concentrate on making cities resilient. Incidently, it is also the theme of World Habitat Day on Monday.

The UN General Assembly designated the first Monday of October every year as World Habitat Day. The idea was to reflect on the state of our towns and cities and the basic right of all to adequate shelter.

“While cities occupy only two per cent of the surface area, they are responsible for 75 per cent of energy consumption and 80 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions,” she said. To combat this, the cities need to be planned in a sustainable and green way, which can be done by sharing knowledge between government, city planners, civil societies and scientific communities.

One of the examples in making a resilient city is the change in land use pattern. Concentrating and preserving natural environment will help mitigate problems of deforestation for agriculture or construction activities.

“Land use patterns will be important factors in determining the emissions from the cities. Designing multi-transport roads and using building materials that are renewable would go a long way in reducing carbon emission in the long run, Sastry said. India is the second most vulnerable country to climate change, as per the study conducted by Maplecroft, UK-based risk advisory company.

Housing issue for poor
The International Co-operation Division of BMS Education Trust in collaboration with UN Habitat organised a seminar on the occasion of World Habitat Day. Sate Housing Department, Rajiv Gandhi Rural Housing Co-operation Limited and Karnataka Slum Development Board participated in the seminar.

Prof Dr Ing H R Viswanath, executive chairman, International Co-operation Division, BMS Education Trust, drew attention to the theme - Cities and Climate Change – which had become a prominent development challenge of the 21st century.

Meanwhile, Dr P Dayananda Pai, trustee, BMS Education Trust, said, “The problem of housing in cities was due to migration, which was the result of lack of employment opportunity in rural areas.” Rajiv Gandhi Rural Housing Co-operation Limited said that the target for this year was construction of 4.8 lakh houses Managing Director Mahadev Prasad said under the ‘Aasare’ scheme, it had constructed 15,000 houses and had set a target of 55,000 in coming financial year.

Consultation

The Indo Global Social Service Society (IGSSS) in collaboration with Forum of Karnataka for the City-Makers organised a consultation-cum-discussion on city-makers (homeless citizens) on the occasion of World Habitat Day.

The Programme Officer of IGSSS Rajani Srikakulam highlighted the state of urban homeless, who live in dehumanising conditions without adequate access to food security, water, sanitation, health, legal identity and livelihoods due to meagre income they earn.

Urban homeless includes vegetable vendors, domestic servants, sanitation workers, head loaders, rag-pickers and construction labourers, etc, who contribute to the City’s development but yet remain invisible to the society. She said these people are deprived of all basic fundamental rights and lack of access to any of the welfare schemes of the government in absence of a shelter and a proper address.

Shivabasavaiah, the joint commissioner of Bommanahalli zone, BBMP said his zonal officers had identified buildings for the night shelter of the urban homeless. They also had organised a health camp for them.

Clifton D Rozario, State adviser to Supreme Court Commissioner on Right to Food said the Supreme Court had proclaimed an order on all the State governments to construct shelter/homes in cities with more than 5 lakh population.

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