Delhi among cities prone to environmental risks

Mumbai, Guwahati also come under affected regions

The capital and Mumbai are among those places that are most prone to multiple environmental risks, says a report.

Guwahati and Bareilly have also been classified as places facing such risks, according to a report jointly prepared by private firm Atkins, University College of London’s development and planning unit and the UK government’s department for international development.
“Our analysis found that the most significant group of cities are those that drive or are impacted by multiple environmental risks,” says the report.

“This group includes some of the world’s largest cities, ranging from Bangkok, Jakarta, Delhi and Mumbai, to smaller cities such as Guwahati and Bareilly,” it says.

Places under this group are likely to require action to address risks across a broad front. These cities are characterised by high energy use and carbon footprints, risks from climate hazards such as flooding and cyclones, and risks to regional support systems such as water, food and natural ecosystems, says the report titled ‘future-proofing cities’.

It notes that there are 70 million people in India living in poverty in 59 cities, leaving them highly vulnerable to stresses and shocks associated with climate hazards, resource scarcities and degradation of ecosystems such as forests.

The conclusions are based on a study of 129 cities in 20 countries with 350 million people.

The report says these risks will ultimately damage the economic growth potential of the cities and impact their ability to reduce urban poverty. Besides, the study has found that despite the economic rise of India, several cities such as Jaipur and Patna continue to remain particularly vulnerable to environmental risks.

“These cities tend to have high proportions of people living in multi-dimensional poverty and informal settlements with poor access to energy, water and sanitation, and are likely to be impacted greatest by environmental risks such as flooding, cyclones or rise in the price of energy,” the report says.

Of the 59 cities assessed in India, over 48 per cent of the population on an average live in multi-dimensional poverty, the study says.

“With a 36 per cent projected increase in population in these Indian cities by 2025, this is likely to increase the proportion of people vulnerable to environmental risks,” the report adds.

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