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Here’s how Delhi is building resilience, reducing emissions and enhancing wellbeing across 7 key areasIn the face of escalating climate impacts, Delhi has begun a transformative journey to bolster its its urban landscape and protect its most vulnerable populations. This megacity, brimming with culture and history, is now writing a new chapter in its story – one that pivots on sustainability and resilience.
Objective: Invest in decentralized renewable energy sources to enhance access to clean sustainable energy, address energy security, and reduce energy poverty while improving climate resilience.
Solution: Solar and EV Policy
Delhi’s Solar Policy was first introduced in 2016 to boost green energy and promote rooftop solar plants in residential areas in Delhi, the government recently signed a partnership with RMI to develop a new Delhi Solar Policy. The expectation is that rooftop solar will fulfil 10 percent of Delhi’s annual energy demand. The government anticipates the plan will also contribute to the creation of 40,000 new green jobs in this sector.
Delhi’s EV Policy aims to improve Delhi’s air quality and create an entire supply-chain ecosystem for these vehicles. 500,000 new EVs should translate into a reduction of 159 tonnes of Particle pollution from fine particulates (PM 2.5) in Delhi, a reduction of INR 6,000 Cr in oil and liquid natural gas imports, and 4.8 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, equivalent to avoiding CO2 emissions from nearly 100,000 petrol cars over their lifetime.
According to a study by TERI and ARAI, electrification of the vehicular fleet (6 percent) coupled with 50 percent electrification of public transport (3 percent), would result in 9 percent improvement of ambient air quality.
The Delhi Government aims to have one in four vehicles sold in Delhi by 2024 to be an EV. To significantly benefit Delhi’s air quality, the policy intends to deploy 25 percent percent of all new vehicles to be battery-operated vehicles by 2024.
2. Heat resilience
Objective: Protect the city and its vulnerable populations, from extreme heat. Delhi faces some of the highest risks from extreme heat, with rising temperatures, an increase in deadly heatwaves, and acute urban heat island effects (UHIE) impacting local productivity, putting vulnerable populations at risk, and contributing to rapidly rising energy demand (and associated emissions).
Solution: Urban Cooling Program: UNEP, RMI, and RMI India, in collaboration with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, are starting a national Urban Cooling Program to support Indian cities in implementing sustainable cooling and heat resiliency strategies. This initiative aims to help reduce peak power demand (which has been increasing by approximately 500 MW year-on-year) and reduce the stresses on Delhi’s electricity transmission and distribution networks.
3. Wetlands and green cover
Objective: Commit to tree-planting or the creation of a green space target by 2025 that supports local biodiversity and helps build urban resiliene.
Solution: Recognizing its importance, Delhi has increased its green cover from 26 sq kms to 300 sq kms in 15 years which is about 20.22 percent of the area of Delhi. This is proposed to be increased to 25 percent by 2030, with a commitment to plant of 1,000,000 trees and 500,000 shrubs a year till 2030. In addition:
- Delhi has established a seven-member panel to monitor restoration of Delhi’s water bodies. Currently, there are 1,045 identified wetlands in Delhi and ongoing geospatial mapping of 344 more wetlands.
- GNCTD is working in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy on wetland ground restoration to highlight nature-friendly restoration.
- A total of 119 waterbodies situated in the villages of eight districts of Delhi are being developed as “model ponds”. These ponds will have to meet certain parameters like no foul smell, presence of aquatic life and dissolved oxygen levels of more than 3 micrograms per cubic metre to become a model pond.
- A real time water quality monitoring of wetlands is currently underway in collaboration with IIT Delhi.
4. Community engagement
Objective: Establish and improve mechanisms for community-based organizations and involve local people in city-scale resilience plans and actions from the outset.
Solution: Delhi’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has conceived a citizen network, the “Wetland Mitras”, to enable local people to participate in wetland conversation and management. As of July 2022, 112 wetland mitras have been promoting awareness on the value and relevance of wetlands.
Through the so-called “Paryavaran Mitra” programme, the government will create a network of people who promote and work in environmental sustainability in their areas. The volunteers will be responsible for increasing greenery, reducing pollution, and improving waste management.
5. Food systems
Objective: Maximize urban spaces to ensure food and nutrition security, bolster social and political inclusion, environmental sustainability, economic progress, unified water and land policies, education and awareness on both nutrition and food systems and decreased burden on resources.
Solution: Urban Farming: “Grow what you eat; eat what you grow” is the government’s philosophy behind making the most of balconies, terraces and small backyards in a city that is bursting at the seams. An FAO report states that urban garden lands are 15 times more productive than the rural holdings.
Objective: Ensure all wastewater is treated (including combined sewage overflows)
Solution: Interceptor Sewer Project: The Interceptor Sewer Project represents a major leap in Delhi’s water management, aiming to trap and treat wastewater. Targeted at cleaning a 22km stretch of the river, the plan is to trap minor drains discharging sewage into Delhi’s largest drains — Najafgarh, Supplementary and Shahdara.
Objective: Ensure residual waste is disposed of adequately in a sanitary landfill, which minimizes impact to surface and groundwater sources
Solution: Eco Park: E-waste management eco park is an area where scientific and environmentally safe recycling, refurbishing, dismantling, and manufacturing is done and being an integrated facility, accommodates various handlers in the ecosystem.
Alternatives to single use Plastic Policy: Under the Plastic Waste Management Rules 2022, State Governments have been instructed to develop a Comprehensive Action Plan (CAP) for elimination of Single Use Plastics and effective implementation of Plastic Waste Management Rules.
The policy aims to identify strategies and suggest aspects that can help identify and increase adoption of alternatives to Single Use Plastics within the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCTD):
- To facilitate collection of segregated plastic waste and recycling of plastic waste to produce quality raw material for plastic industry,
- Reduction of production and consumption of identified SUPs,
- Policy support to promote the entrepreneurs and manufacturers engaged in supply and manufacture of alternatives to SUPs
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