SUBJECT : Webinar Report on Urban October 

 

URBAN OCTOBER 2021

THEME OF THE WEBINAR:  PROTECTION OF URBAN ENVIRONMENT

30th October 2021

Webinar Report

SPA ENVIS RP on Human Settlements and Their Impact on Environment

Hosted by School of Planning and Architecture

 

Introduction

55% of the world’s population resides in the towns and cities and the number is still growing constantly. To satisfy the requirements of growing population and to combat against the present economic, social and environmental problems and challenges of urbanization, it is imperative to harness the transformational changes in creating cities safe, resilient and sustainable. In this context, Urban October- a month long conversation is devoted towards sustainable urbanization conducted through virtual and physical events, activities and discussions to enhance knowledge, create awareness and involve effective participation in promoting a Better Urban Future It commences from World Habitat Day which is observed first Monday of the October month and ends at World Cities Day (31st October).

 

Webinar Structure

Webinar on the occasion of Urban October was conducted on 30th October 2021 from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm by ENVIS Resource Partner on Human Settlements and their impact Environment, School of Planning and Architecture in collaboration with Fellow Delhi based ENVIS Resource Partners.

The webinar was themed on ‘Protection of Urban Environment’ that focused on projecting the new dimensions in creating more sustainable, healthy, safe and climate-resilient societies for all inhabitants. Dr Umesh Chandra Kulshrestha (Dean, School of Environmental Sciences, Jawahar Lal Nehru University), Dr N. B. Mazumdar (Honorary Chairman, International Academy of Environmental Sanitation and Public Health), Dr Areendran Gopala (Director, IGCMC (Remote Sensing and GIS), WWF) and Prof. Dr Meenakshi Dhote (HOD, Department of Environmental Planning, School of Planning and Architecture) were the eminent speakers, who deliberated on the challenges and opportunities created by the fast rate of change in our cities and towns along with the necessity of improving life.  More than 40 attendees participated in this webinar.

About Speakers

Dr. Umesh Chandra Khulshretha is the Professor and Dean at Jawaharlal Nehru University. He has more than 27 years of teaching experience and has shared his expertise with many renowned organisations, committees, advisory board and accreditation bodies serving his specialisation in Chemistry and Climate Change, Atmospheric Dust, Air Pollution Transport and Chemical Transformations, Precipitation Chemistry, Reactive Nitrogen, Air Pollution Bio monitoring, Environmental Analytical Chemistry, Bio aerosols, Metal Aerosols, Carbonaceous aerosols, Holistic Environment.

Dr. N. B. Mazumdar is an Honorary Chairman at International Academy of Environmental Sanitation and Public Health, New Delhi since April 2019. He has an experience of more than 35 years in waste management, sanitation, renewable energy and financing of infrastructure and conventional power projects. He has also served as a consultant to TERI, WHO and worked with the Housing and Urban Development Corporation Ltd. (HUDCO) under Ministry of Urban Development, Govt. of India. Prior to this he worked as Director, Sulabh International Institute of Technical Research and Training, being instrumental in setting up biogas plants, laboratories and demonstration facilities.

Dr Areendran Gopala is Director in IGCMC (Remote sensing & GIS) WWF, India involved in several WWF-India’s scientific projects using a range of GIS and Remote Sensing techniques. Trained as Wildlife ecologist, research interest lies in application of Remote sensing and GIS in Nature conservation and resource management, pertaining to Forestry & Ecology in Biodiversity Conservation, Biodiversity Information System, Forest Mapping and Monitoring etc. As a coordinator of ENVIS (MoEF & CC) initiated GSDP (Green skill development program) where several students were trained to improvise their skill set on GIS applications in Wildlife field.

Prof. Dr. Meenakshi Dhote: has over 30 years of professional, research & teaching experience in the field of Environmental Planning; conservation of biodiversity in urbanized environment; hill area development. She has published /presented over 25 technical papers in National and International Journals, National and International conferences and Seminars. Presently, she is positioned as the Head of the Department of Environmental Planning at School of Architecture and Planning, Delhi.

Session Details

·         Dr. Umesh Chandra Khulshretha discussed following points on the topic Chemistry, Climate and Green Energy Targets :

o   Stubble burning in Haryana and Punjab, increased global coal consumption, dust emissions in north India, onset of low temperature and the negligence by the policy makers and government in implementing the required policies to control the emissions are the main contributing factors in making Delhi unbreathable during winters.

o   Increase in global coal/fuel consumption in transportation, change in land use and cover induced by deforestation, use of carbon dependent technologies, urbanization and other human interventions have proved for causing persistent attenuation in air quality and climate crisis that have been justified by the noticeable highlights during lockdown period and findings & predictions of IPCC. This can be addressed by switching to Carbon less and Clean Energy actions that are needed to reduce the carbons emissions and to combat climate crisis.

o   Presently, electric vehicle and partially solar and wind are in consideration for long term clean energy solutions in India, but are limited by the availability of raw materials. To meet the Clean Energy targets, India should increase in-house mineral processing and start searching for new material and methods of clean energy technologies based on the ores available in India.

o   India should increase its capacity in nuclear energy for general electricity supply as well as for electrolysis required for hydrogen production.

o   India should be missioned to become self-reliant in energy sector by 2050.

 

·         Dr. N. B. Mazumdar talked on Waste Management in Urban Areas and presented its various aspects from planning prospective, as mentioned below.

o   Land acquisition for processing and disposal of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) is a problematic issue faced by Urban Local Bodies in implementing the effective Municipal Solid Waste Management in Urban Areas. Identifying and earmarking suitable sites for waste management that must be environmentally compatible on the basis of data acquired by EIA (Environment Impact Assessment) or Rapid EIA and positioning them in the approved land use plan, is a remedial solution to address the present land issue for waste disposal.

o   The sites for Sanitary Landfill and processing facilities should be incorporated in the Town Planning Department’s Land use Plan and buffer zone of no development should be maintained within the total area of disposal and processing facilities of Sanitary landfill as cited in SWM Rule 2016.

o   The planning and establishment of Sanitary Landfill along with No Development Zone should be procured with right development at the right place with proper notification with utmost legitimacy and without any objections/ violations from public domain.

 

·         Dr Areendran Gopala presented on Wildlife Corridors, their Importance and Management and was deliberated on the followings facts on exploitation of wildlife habitat and the role of GIS in conservation efforts.

o   Encroachment of natural areas for infrastructure development in the process of Urbanisation expansion of small areas to mega cities is one of the main reasons behind the significant impacts and pressure on the wildlife corridors that has produced disconnection between protected areas which has directly and indirectly resulted in the restricted movements of wild animals. These corridors help in species migration causing species mixing and evolution which will indirectly protect their longevity.

o   The landscape approach is a holistic approach to landscape management, aiming to reconcile the competing objectives of nature conservation and economic activities across a given landscape. It is a new take in conservation science which is not restricted to limited number of protected areas but covers all the protected areas, land use, land use change, corridors etc. This approach adopted by WWF in biodiversity conservation provides protection of protected areas, natural resources, genetic resources as well as addressing threats to the issues of creating biodiversity loss.

o   The change in different landscapes of India and their respective ecosystem services are driven by Climate, Human activities, infrastructure development and natural disturbances, biotic processes, landforms and soils. But Human intervention induced by raising population is the main contributing factor for decline in nature attributed by biodiversity loss and alterations in the ecosystem processes. The attentive natural resources consumption will be effective to reduce our ecological footprints and considered as an indispensable measure to ensure food security and green economy for future.

o   The relative change in forest cover and it distribution on India’s map revealed the habitat fragmentation developing island of forests caused by infrastructure development depicts the biggest threat leading to loss of biodiversity (due to in-breading). This ads on to the loss of corridors, the fragmented and isolated forests which has and will further lead to a breakdown in ecological processes such as species migration, dispersal, recycling of nutrients, pollination of plants and other natural functions required for ecosystem’s health. This may result in severe biodiversity decline and local extinction of sensitive Species.

o   GIS tools and technologies are used for mapping and analyzing these wildlife corridors. These are efficient for stimulation analysis and management purposes to model, plan and find the best fit path feasible for animal movement. It will help to identify the nature of landscape, the extent of habitat fragmentation across the landscape which will determine and prioritize the areas and paths that requires conservation efforts to facilitate connectivity and dispersal.

o   The Best practices for management of wildlife corridors can be achieved by: designing and constructing multiple crossing structures over the road at a crossing point to provide connectivity for all species; providing at least one crossing structure that should be located within an individual’s home range; regular monitoring of manmade and restored corridors; by the construction of at least 200 m wide long area on both side of crossing over the stream protected by buffer strips for maintaining the biotic interactions; removal of non- native or invasive species; Integrate linkage design with land use and conservation plans, combine habitat conservation with compatible public goals, encourage native plantation in urban areas, discourage poaching of threat species, reducing/ restricting the use of insecticide, pesticide etc. and creating awareness for maintaining ecological areas.

o   The future sustenance of nature will be directed by the type of development, which has to be addressed skillfully and perceptively which can only be attained by less or radical use of natural resources.

 

·         Prof. Dr. Meenakshi Dhote presented on the topic Urban Sustainability – Ecological Concern with the following aspects of considering city as an ecosystem in planning process:

o   For the compatibility of Urban Development with sustainable growth, the protection of nature within urban areas and people preferences are important to consider.

o   The designing and planning should be in regional context and in compliance with the nature’s parameters to recreate the habitats for urban biodiversity and sustain the city as an ecosystem. And also the various ecosystem services such as clean air, food, water filtration, flood prevention, noise reduction, recreation, climate regulation and nature’s education are required to be considered as assets of urban areas in the process of Urban Development and Sustainability.

o   If the urban areas are studied as an integrated ecosystem of different types like flat agriculture as low lands, rocky areas as hills, drainage lines as valley and fresh water wetlands etc., and measured as indiscriminate element of the urban infrastructure which support biodiversity and provides ecosystem services then there will be high probability for its acceptance in the planning process.

o   The land use planning should have multipronged approach along with scientific progression which is required to accommodate various eco-sensitive aspects of an area in order to ameliorate climate crisis and to reduce the impacts of waste on the health of urban areas and ecosystems.

The session concluded with a vote of thanks and closing remarks by Prof. Dr. Meenakshi Dhote on the significance of implementing the clean green concept in land use planning for Urban Sustainability.