Promote green spaces for sustainable planet | Pune News


Dr Dhruv Sen Singh
Climate change and global warming are the greatest environmental, social, political, and economic threats to planet earth in the 21st century.
That’s why since 1970, the Earth Day is being celebrated every year on April 22 across the world to sustain our planet and protect environment.
On this day, individuals, societies, and institutions come together to raise awareness about the challenges that earth is facing and the urgent need to conserve it.
The effects of climate change and deterioration of nature are becoming more evident and its impact has been felt across the globe. Major environmental problems like land, air, and water pollution, deforestation, increase in greenhouse gases, water scarcity, climate change, and loss of biodiversity are threatening sustainability.
The use of fossil fuels, vehicular emissions, destruction of natural habitats for industrialization and unplanned development are some contributing to significant increase in global temperatures.
The ever-increasing demand for water and land due to increase in population and urbanizati on is changing the land use, natural recharging system of water resources, reshaping landscapes, changing interaction of man with the surroundings and affecting the environment never witnessed so far.
We must take urgent action to address environmental issues like reducing greenhouse gaseemission, conserving water resources, promoting afforestation, and reducing air pollution. We must adopt sustainable practices in our daily lives and ensure that earth remains healthy and sustainable for future generations. Climate change and global warming have created an unpleasant environment in society.
Heat wave and hot days in the northern plains of India have made life extremely uncomfortable. In Lucknow, with temperatures soaring over 40 degrees Celsius, it is crucial to protect residents and environment. The scorching heat is due to high UV radiations, which make people feel a torturous summer never witnessed before.
High temperatures (above 40 degrees Celsius) were not so scorching in the 1980s. We have played in open playgrounds during summer vacation without any problem. In the past, the real temperature was 42 degress but the effective temperature (which we feel) was 38, whereas nowadays the real temperature of 42 feels like 50 degrees due to heat island effect caused by concrete jungle around us.
We have reduced surface water bodies, deforestation, gross cover, and land area and increased concrete jungles, deforestation, roadside tiles, greenhouse gases, AC exhaust, use of granite and sandstone in buildings.
To get relief from scorching heat, cities should be planned with proper water bodies, vegetation, soil cover, and low concrete area. Use of plastering and tiles on both sides of the road should be checked and afforestation should be encouraged.
It i s essential to spread awareness about the dangers of heat waves and educate people on precautionary measures. The government can set up water stations to ensure availability of water to public.
The government can set up cooling stations and shelters for people who are unable to bear the heat where people can take refuge. It is essential to promote green spaces in the city. Trees and green spaces help to lower the temperature and provide a cooling effect and improve air quality.
By spreading awareness, promoting hydration, providing shelter, promoting green spaces, and reducing heat island effect, we can protect people and environment. On this Earth Day, let us pledge to preserve our planet and its environment by creating a greener, cleaner, and more sustainable future.
(The writer is a professor of geology at the University of Lucknow. He was a member of the first Indian expedition to the Arctic and also the recipient of National Geoscience Award, Vigyan Ratna, Shichhak Shree and Saraswati Samman)

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