The past decade (2010-2019) had experienced some extreme climatic conditions globally. The world there has encountered some devastating natural phenomena (Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Cyclones, Floods, Landslides and Hailstorms, etc.) including the hot ‘sun-burns’ 2018 & 2019. The environmentalist has named these areas as ‘Urban Heat Islands (UHIs)’ which in the absence of green cover traps the harmful ultraviolet radiation of the sun.
Urban Heat Islands (UHIs): Definition and Repercussions
The scientist has predicted that these ‘Urban Heat Islands (UHIs)’ are expanding on a very faster rate and with the onset of next decade (2030-2039) they will cover almost 60% of the global landmass resulting in extreme temperatures (55 degree Celsius & above) at the equatorial points. The scientists are marking these UHIs as arid hotspots (ultra-dark region) with the help of satellite mapping. During their research, they found the average temperature of these regions, 2-3 degrees (on Celsius scale) above with respect to their rural surroundings. These areas are generally the urban areas or the metropolitan cities with huge population density and low green cover. The global infrastructure with concrete cover has hardly left any space open for soil or trees. This has reduced the absorption capacity of surface and hence the UV-rays so incident on the surface gets reflected back and trapped there raising the temperature beyond the limit. The other effects so associated with this phenomenon are low groundwater level due to extensive concrete cover, extreme surface temperatures, absence of fresh breeze and comparatively colder nights. In India, these UHIs are observed in almost all metropolitan cities including Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, New-Delhi and NCR.
Preventive Steps to address UHI :
The environmentalists across the globe have suggested the masses to involve in conservation activities like the conservation of green cover by avoiding deforestation, soil conservation by avoiding land degradation activities, in-situ conservation of water resources by avoiding exploitation activities. The scientist community has also proposed the global organizations like UN (United Nations) to urge its member states to draw a line of order statement to implement the activities like Rainwater Harvesting at all the choked points, introduction of fresh green cover by afforestation activities, effective solid waste management techniques to revive degraded land sites, introduction of green concrete (pink or grey concrete instead of black) in modern infrastructure, etc. Apart from this, the citizens by themselves can also bring in some efficient activities like leaving an open space (with soil cover and trees) at every household, use of sprinkler jets in toilets and kitchens instead of heavy taps, use of lighter green flooring on roofs, farming on rooftops and the rainwater harvesting models. These steps would bring GreenGlobalisation.
Role of Educational and Research Institutions:
To address adversity and to bring an all-round awareness among the various sections of society the educational and research institutions along with the government of India need to play an important role. We need to think of Greta Thunberg, a 15-year-old Swedish origin environmental activist who by virtue of her education and environment sensibility has urged the masses globally to adopt environment-friendly techniques for development and global infrastructure. Her initiative was small but the voice behind that was so louder that it trembled the global platform of UNCCC-2018 (United Nations Conference on Climate Change)