Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) classify heat wave if the maximum temperature reaches at least 40 degree Celsius in plains, 37 degree in coastal areas and 30 degree in hilly areas. Over half of the India’s population is burning as the heat waves touches the severe heat wave conditions of urban areas of the central and western India. Churu was the worst affected at 50.8 degree Celsius.
An urban heat island(UHI) is an area where the temperature is warmer than its surrounding rural areas because the rural areas are open and green and involve less human activities, don’t have vehicle movement and concrete jungle. Rural areas cool off faster at night whereas urban areas retain the heat stored during the day time in roads, vehicles, building structures, electricity consumption, the gas is considered to be a pollutant when associated with cars, planes, power plants, fossil fuels like gasoline and natural gas. Air pollution increases the temperature. The urban population is worst affected and cause problems like respiratory, headaches, heat stroke, heat cramps, extreme thirst, palpitations, fainting muscle cramps due to loss of salt and dehydration resulting in kidney injuries.
There are some remedial steps like increase shades around you house, plant tree or green cover and cooling through evaporation. It you are residing on top floor you can install green roofs/cool roofs. Always use energy-efficient electric appliances. Air condition, fridge and greenhouse gas also increase air pollution.
Constantly climate change over the years is the root cause of increase in temperature and frequency in heat waves. A 2019 EnviStats report by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) shows an increase from 44 instances in 1970 to 484 instances of heat waves in 2018 across different states in India. Rajasthan has been the most affected with 144 heat waves in 2017 and 173 in 2018. More recently, Churu, a city in Rajasthan, reached the highest temperature till now of 50.8 degree Celsius.
The pre-monsoon in summer season normally used to start from March end to till early July but due to climate change it is been delayed. I am residing in Chandigarh since 1959 when there were any fans and people especially gents used to sleep in the locality parks in open. There fan was not even required at that time. In maximum temperature everyone used traditional “Pakhiyan” beautifully designed and specially given at the time of marriage in dowry articles. I still remember whenever the temperature raised in Chandigarh there was rains to cool down the temperature. Though Chandigarh is quite green but due to increase of vehicles and population we are facing the heat waves.
Today itself the Sh. V.P.Singh Badnore, Hon’ble Governor of Punjab and the Administrator to Chandigarh released “Green Chandigarh Action Plan 2019-20 prepared by the Green Chandigarh Task Group at Raj Bhawan Chandigarh. This Plan has envisaged 2,52,000 saplings to be planted during 2019-20. The target of plantation assigned to Forest Department is 65,000 saplings and Horticulture Wing of Engineering Department is 22,000 saplings and Municipal Corporation is 40,000 saplings, while the balance is to be achieved by these three greening agencies either through free distribution or by selling saplings.
On this occasion, Hon’ble Governor appreciated the work done by the Departments and said that “I am confident that the people of Chandigarh, who are traditionally nature lovers, would whole-heartedly support and participate in the endeavour of the Forest Department in preserving the ecological wealth of Chandigarh”.
Debendra Dalai, IFS, CCF, Chandigarh informed that UT Chandigarh takes pride in having preserved about 41% of the total area under forest and green cover. To increase green cover in U.T. Chandigarh, “Greening Chandigarh Action Plan 2018-19” was prepared for implementation by all the greening agencies. Against the target of 63,000 saplings, Forest Department has planted 68,300 saplings and apart from this, against the target of 55,000 saplings, the Forest department has distributed 59,602 saplings free of cost to the citizens of Chandigarh, NGOs, Schools, Colleges etc., to contribute their part in the maintenance of the Green Cover of the City. Against the target of 20,000 saplings, Engineering Department (Horticulture), UT has planted 33,960 saplings. Municipal Corporation (Hort. Wing) has planted 42,352 saplings against the target of 40,000 saplings to increase the Green Cover of the City. Encouraged by the previous year's results, the Forest Department, Chandigarh in collaboration with Municipal Corporation and Engineering Department, Chandigarh had chalked out a program to continue the efforts with the renewed zeal during year 2018-19. The achievement is 116% as 2,82,822 saplings were planted against the target.
On this occasion, Hon’ble Governor also released a pictorial guidebook ‘Single-use Plastic and Polythene Ban in Chandigarh’ prepared by the Department of Environment which contains all the information regarding plastic items banned and allowed in Chandigarh so as to help the general public for reference purpose.
During the function held at Raj Bhawan, Punjab, Shri Manoj Parida, IAS Adviser to Administrator said that It is a matter of great pride that Chandigarh is known as the 'Greenest City of India' owing to an abundance of greenery in the form of parks, gardens, and green cover. A.K. Gupta, IAS Principal Secretary (Forests & Wildlife) informed that all the aspects of Greening Action Plan has been well taken care of in the report including specific targets, strategies, post plantation care techniques and other valuable information regarding urban forestry. Ajay Kumar Sinha, IAS (Finance Secretary), T.C.Nautiyal, IFS, Conservator of Forests and Dr.Abdul Qayum, IFS, DCF, UT Chandigarh and other senior officers of the Administration. In order to achieve these targets, a massive plantation drive will be organized in Schools, Colleges, Residential Colonies, Villages, Hospitals and other public and private lands as a part of Vanmahotsava celebration during the month of July-August, 2019.
Every year Chandigarh plants a lot and finish its target well before the time but how many of them actually survive? I am very much impressed with a new drive of Debendra Dalai, IFS, CCF, who emphasis the need to plantation according to zodiac sign. Though many people may not believe in the mythology but who so ever will sapling according to his/her Zodiac Sign will definitely take care of the plant because of fear factor and the survival rate of sapling will definitely increase.
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