How RWAs can Help Mitigate Climate Change


The nature of our Nature and its environment is to change, since it is in constant flux, evolution and acceleration, whether it is induced by the human beings or not. In the course of the past life of the planet, many species have disappeared, but we  want to survive! Since human habitations are also evolving and changing for the better, though not to the extent desired, we have to make efforts to see that the climate changes would be in harmony with our needs. Since the Industrial Revolution, our needs have grown so fast that we could not ensure a good balance with nature. Since the meeting of the Club of Rome in the seventies, we started receiving several signals that we should change our practices and habits for our own safety. Now, if we want to sustain our lives and develop further, we have to establish a new equilibrium or adjustments with nature with a clear understanding that there can never be a permanent and fixed equilibrium. There is certainly urgency, but there is no need for panic or guilty feeling. We might prevent some happenings, we can mitigate some effects and we may have to adapt to some other changes, thanks to our scientific and technological knowledge. Since man has started changing the climate, he can further change it to make it more harmonious with his rapid social transformations. This is all possible with scientific knowledge which is to be intensified, concerted and shared globally, so that it can be transformed into  technical tools and into technologies to be applied not only in mega-projects, but also in day to day life by the residents.

We the urban citizens living in RWAs or as community-based civil society organisations have an urgent need to reduce air, sound, water and ground pollutions around us, so as to bring net zero balance in our carbon emissions as early as possible. The residents have a great human capital of knowledge and practice in technology, science, medicine, nutrition, engineering and culture and they can collectively start to act within their micro-urban community in their own area or ward, before they do it at the town or city level. We have the possibility to acquire measuring tools to watch the levels of pollution in air, sound, water, milk, radiation, etc. We can enlist the ingenuity of the local enterprises or the private sector who are also co-residents in the area for efficient services and constant improvements in the techniques of delivery. In general, we should see that there is no wastage of natural resources and no excessive use of chemicals for domestic purposes. The consumption of all natural resources, including the plastic, should go by the formula of ‘Reduce, Reuse and Recycle’. 

Water: Access to quality drinking water can be managed at the receiving end. Area-wise management of the supply, elimination of wastage, quality control, frequency, regularity, pressure and pricing with collection of user-charges is possible. 

The process of re-cycling and purification demands new initiatives and experiments with the help of the nearby research-scientists and academic institutions.

Energy: The RWAs can put bicycles at the disposal of their residents to go to short distances and even to their offices, which is good to their health. Cycle-tracks should be arranged. Alternative energies like wind turbines, solar panels should be explored and installed where ever there is space for it. The RWAs should be in the forefront to support Electric Motor Vehicles charging stations and give preference in parking etc. Contrary to the cold countries, seasons’ effect should be welcomed in the habitations in the tropical countries.  

Air and Sound Pollution: Particle matter in the air should be measured regularly and eliminate the causes as expeditiously as possible. Construction work should be watched. There should be a team to watch and to discourage excessive sounds in the buildings and on the roads. Car horning, all kinds of sound alarms in the parking and on the roads should be minimised. One has to regulate the vehicles like lorries and buses which horn at the junctions, without slowing them. Sounds from the Prayer halls and Function-halls should not disturb the neighbourhood. Advertising vehicles and vendors with music etc. should be regulated.

Greener Interior: Right plant should be in right place, depending upon its performance. If we make our buildings greener, we can make India greener. Each house can reduce carbon emissions and increase oxygen production by having a plant in each room in the houses, class rooms, offices, shops, and with roof-gardens, corridor plants, creepers all over the compound walls, etc. There are specific plants that absorb specific poisonous gases. Parks and lake bunds should be maintained by the RWA under contract and to see that encroachments are cleared by the municipality. Internally, to participate in building local infrastructure such as drainage, pavements, storm water drain in tandem with the municipal and state departments. Externally, to write to the authorities to launch mega-projects like in China, though belatedly, for interlinking of rivers, digging grand canals, controlling floods and inundations, desalination of water, reforestation, greening the hills and mountains, marine cultivation, etc.

Disaster Management team of Local Volunteers: Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and mapping of resource to mobilize are to be planned and local volunteers are to be trained to act in case of a crisis or emergency related to floods, fire, riots, earthquakes, chemical gases or nuclear radio-activity.

 On 23rd November, the general body has to prepare an annual plan of action on various local pollutions for local remedies. On many of the issues mentioned above, some departments and some municipal staff may be available to work with and to implement them locally.

Photo credits

Markus Spiske

Mike Newbry

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