It’s going south! How Delhi’s affluent district is most vulnerable to climate impact & pollution

Delhi: 7 March, 2022 (times of India)

 

NEW DELHI: Assessing which parts of the city are vulnerable overall, a government study found South Delhi district to be the most at risk to factors such as climate impact, pollution, water availability, population density, land use change, urbanisation and vehicular concentration, among others.


Northeast Delhi, including Shahdara, was the next vulnerable district, followed in order by East, South-East, North-West, South-West, West, North, Central and New Delhi districts.

 

According to the report, the vulnerability assessment has a baseline of both climatic and anthropogenic factors that a particular area is prone to. The vulnerability assessment can inform the decision-making process, help select the right adaptation strategies and practices, formulate policies and regulations and investment in public infrastructure for climate proofing.

According to the report, the common key drivers of vulnerability in Delhi differ from district to district. The most common factors included migration, rate of urbanisation, high concentration of disabled population, land use change, vehicular concentration, poor waste management infrastructures, poor storm water drainage, low concentration of water bodies, low use of electric vehicles and heat islands.

All these factors have a direct effect on human health. “The process of recognising, measuring and prioritising the vulnerabilities in a system is termed as vulnerability assessment. In the context of cities, both climatic and anthropogenic factors enhance the vulnerability,” the report says. “Climate change, including climate variability and extreme events, can directly and indirectly impact several sectors such as water resources, food security, human health, and biodiversity, and even physical environments in an urban setting.”

The report also says that the frequency and intensity of urban flooding, heat waves and vector-borne diseases have increased significantly, affecting life and livelihood of inhabitants. “Vulnerability includes the harms due to climate stimuli like temperature rise and variability in precipitation including the extremes, and adaptive capacity that helps mitigate or at least reduces the sensitivity to harm,” the report adds.

The report assessed the district-wise vulnerability to 17 risks: migrant population, rate of urbanisation, disabled population, area under forest cover, solid waste generation, heat islands, total vehicles, water vulnerable areas, water bodies, parks and tree canopy, tap water connection, sewage treatment plants, effluent treatment plants, stormwater drainage, below-poverty-line families, rooftop solar power and registered EVs.

The factors making South district most vulnerable included high migrant population, high rate of urbanisation, disabled population, solid waste generation, number of vehicles, water vulnerable areas and inadequate STPs, ETPs and stormwater drainage.

To help reduce such vulnerabilities, the government aims at a slew of measures. These including tackling issues related to climate — such as heat waves, urban flooding and water scarcity — waste accumulation, mobility, energy and degradation of green areas.

Some of the adaptation steps include groundwater recharge, preservation of water bodies, augmentation of green spaces, appropriate incentives and penalties on land use change, more stormwater drains, installation of rainwater harvesting systems, removal of encroachments, boosting sewage and seepage management, enhancing water recycling, segregation of solid waste, better solar solutions, mass transit solutions and promotion of e-vehicles with green fuel.