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Let’s paint the city green

Let’s paint the city green
It was a deep slumber when nightmares of concrete jungles swallowing up the greenery and people coughing their lungs out in a cloud of smoke shook the Capital city of Delhi and it was realised that the time has come to stop being selfish and start saving the city for future generations to come. As the saying goes – “It’s never too late” – Delhi has finally <g data-gr-id="78">awaken</g> and is walking towards a possible “Green Revolution”.

The amount of damage that has already been caused cannot be revived with such minimal <g data-gr-id="85">measures</g> but the city is surely at present crawling to set things right in protecting Mother Nature. Though the start has been quite slow and obviously late, but by turning the measures taken into a habitual practice, the city is determined to overcome the evils of increasing pollution. With constant perseverance towards making the city a better place to live in, Delhi will certainly regain the long lost charm of a clean city.

Thanks to the National Green Tribunal, it gave the people a cleaner outlook and probably that gave rise to taking several important steps to curb the rising pollution in the city. The drive gave rise to a lot of go-green ideas being implemented around the city.

On June 8, 2015, the first green Metro station of the city, ITO, was flagged off. The whole complex of the Metro station is an example of how a place, thronged by thousands of commuters every day, can be almost non-polluting. The complex draws power from solar panels affixed atop the station. Solar panels, as we all know, are at present, the most non-polluting form of energy resource. It traps sunlight and converts it into electrical energy, which can then be used to cater to all our electrical needs. Similar to the steps taken at ITO, two other stations – Janpath and Mandi House – were conferred upon the highest award for adhering to the green building norms by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC).

However, the green measures taken up by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) do not end here. Recently, DMRC has decided to run trains completely on solar energy by buying electricity from a 500 MW solar facility in Rajasthan. The deal is facing a stumbling block as Rajasthan does not allow banking of solar power, but with the intervention from the Centre, the matter can possibly be resolved.

Earlier, the DMRC had also launched a bicycle-sharing scheme, which they said would provide last-mile-connectivity to the commuters. An initiative to serve the commuters with a non-polluting transport came with a smart card facility, which enables a person to hire a cycle to reach his/her destination from the Metro Station and return it to the same cycle shed. However, this facility is available only at selected Metro stations.

Drawing inspiration from the DMRC, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) too had launched a cycle-sharing-system. However, it saw a closure as a lot of cycles were being stolen. Recently, the DDA has announced to re-launch the scheme by installing Radio Frequency Identification devices, which would help in tracking the cycles. The initiative has been taken up by the DDA in order to not only provide a <g data-gr-id="83">last-mile-connectivity,</g> but also to take a step towards curbing pollution.

The DDA also has come up with a high-end housing scheme, which is proposed to have penthouses with terrace gardens. According to the officials, the construction will be done following green building design concepts. The plan is to incorporate solar heaters, organic waste disposal and LED lighting in a bid to reduce <g data-gr-id="72">burden</g> on the environment.

Talking on organic waste disposal system, green activist Vikrant <g data-gr-id="76">Tongad</g> says: “It is very important to re-use water by treating waste water,” adding “every society in the city should have a waste water treatment plant. If we are using 10,000 litres of water, at least 3,000 litres can be re-used after treating the waste water.”

Tongad also added that 800 colonies in Delhi still do not have proper sewage treatment facilities. Untreated water is discharged day in and day out into the Yamuna, which is polluting the river to the hilt. It is important for all the industries as well to have proper water treatment plants in order to curb the adverse effects of water pollution. “Drains should not be made concrete as in doing so; the water cannot seep <g data-gr-id="93">in to</g> the ground following which the underground water level does not get replenished.” He also said: “Concrete drains do not allow the growth of small plants, which bear the capacity to soak the water, treat it and pass it on to the soil.”

The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), too, is taking steps towards cleaning the air in and around Delhi. The Minister of Environment and Forests, Prakash Javadekar, recently, held meetings with the ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan in order to discuss how the quality of the air, in and around Delhi, may be made cleaner. Reports were asked to be filed stating what progress has been made in this direction. On July 13, the minister is expected to hold another meeting to review the measures taken by the states.

In a landmark move taken by Maurice Nagar police station to convert the building into a green one has drawn much appreciation and is definitely a commendable step taken towards a better environment, at least in and around the police station. The police station has a slaked lime-coated roof and earthen pots with water sprinkler system on the roof to keep the roof and the overall temperature of the police station cool. This apart, the station has LED lights and bio-toilets, which have a system of converting faecal matter into water by anaerobic bacterial decomposition. 

The SHO’s office has furniture made of bamboo and cane, which is more environment-friendly as it does not require cutting of trees. It has also been decided to use <g data-gr-id="104">re-cycled</g> paper for complaints to be filed by the complainants. Around 400 areca palm trees have also been planted within the complex and in the surrounding areas. This tree has the maximum carbon consumption capacity. Such measures might be very little when compared to the level of pollution that takes place every day but subsequent steps, not only by the government or authorities but also at individual levels, can actually prove vital in curbing the menace and make the Capital a greener city. It should be noted that recently a micro-particle, PM 2.5, is rising at an alarming level in the city’s air. These can easily penetrate deep into the lungs or enter the <g data-gr-id="105">blood stream</g>, damaging the inner walls of the arteries, causing serious cardiovascular problems.

It is high time that every person living in the city takes up initiatives to reduce pollution. The government alone cannot be the force to make a difference in changing the ambience for better living.

GREEN DREAM:

Measures that the government can take are

*Trees should be transplanted after being uprooted for construction purposes.
*Transplanted and newly planted trees should be taken good care of.
*Any form of concrete construction, like pavements, should not be made within <g data-gr-id="161">six-feet</g> from the base of trees.
*Water bodies like wetlands should be conserved.
*Measures should be taken to check groundwater depletion.
*Entry of trucks should be checked and proper railway networks should be established in order to connect hinterlands.
*Traffic signals should be lessened in order to decongest roads.
*Drains should not be made concrete in order to facilitate water seepage, resulting in <g data-gr-id="160">repletion</g> of groundwater levels.

Measures that can be  taken by individuals

 *Felling of trees for personal benefits should be avoided.
 *Every factory should have a proper waste-treatment system.
 *Pool car concept should be acknowledged.
 *Societies should have waste water treatment plants to re-use water.
 *<g data-gr-id="238">More</g> number of potted plants should be kept at houses.
 *Use of LED lights.
Utsav Basu

Utsav Basu

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