EDEN IAS

SLEEPLESS NIGHTS IN A CONCRETE JUNGLE

UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS | WARM, SLEEPLESS NIGHTS IN A CONCRETE JUNGLE | 17TH JUNE | THE HINDU

SYLLABUS SECTION:  GS III (ENVIRONMENT)

WHY IN THE NEWS?

Recently, discussions on the growing number of urban heat islands in the Capital have once again come to the fore | WARM, SLEEPLESS NIGHTS IN A CONCRETE JUNGLE.

  • Unplanned urbanization and changing land use cover (LULC) have increased urban heat islands in the Capital over time.

WHAT ARE URBAN HEAT ISLANDS?

Urban heat islands are pockets within the city, that are warmer than surrounding rural areas, due to loss of green cover to concretization, increased use of colling equipment, and vehicular pollution & warm, sleepless nights in a concrete jungle.

EFFECTS OF URBAN HEAT

  • Health Issues:
  • The combination of high day and night­time temperatures is dangerous as it seriously impacts the blood circulation and other bodily functions of people, especially the elderly.
  • Heatstrokes have become the second leading cause of death from a natural force in India with 11,555 people being killed from 2011 to 2020 due to the condition.

2)  Increased Energy Consumption

  • Increased temperatures during summer in cities amplify the energy demand for air conditioning.

 

  • Poses Danger to Aquatic Systems
  • High temperatures within the urban areas mean elevated temperatures for pavements and rooftops. These surface temperatures can heat stormwater runoff.

 

  • Secondary Impacts on Weather and Climate
  • Urban heat islands (UHIs) can bring forth secondary effects on the local weather and climate. This includes changes in local wind patterns, the formation of fog and clouds, precipitation rates, and humidity.
GROWING HEAT ISLANDS IN DELHI:
  • According to NASA images, night-time temperatures in Delhi and adjoining villages were above 35 degrees Celsius peaking at about 39 degrees Celsius, while the rural fields nearby had cooled to around 15 degrees
CAUSES OF URBAN HEAT ISLAND
  • Micro­climatic Changes:
  • It occurs when we start disrupting our landscapes. Eg: Over 60% of Delhi’s landscapes are disrupted, signaling alteration or encroachment of tree cover, forest cover, wetlands, and natural ecosystems.

 

  • Dark surfaces.
  • Dark roofs absorb more energy into the building as heat, hence the boom in cool roof adoption.

 

  • Thermal mass.
  • Buildings contain a lot of thermal mass, which means they store a lot of heat during the day and are slow to release the heat overnight.

 

  • Urban Architecture:
  • Tall buildings, and often accompanying narrow streets, hinder the circulation of air, reduce wind speed, and thus reduce any natural cooling effects. This is called the Urban Canyon Effect.

 

  • Lack of vegetation.
  • It stops evapotranspiration, shade, and removal of carbon dioxide, all the processes that help to cool the surrounding air.
HEAT-RELATED PLANS:
  • India’s first heat action plan came up in Ahmedabad in 2013.
  • Hyderabad brought a heat action plan in 2021.
  • The Centre is currently working with 23 heat wave-prone States and over 130 cities, including Delhi, to implement a similar action plan.
HOW CAN URBAN HEAT ISLANDS BE REDUCED?
  • Green infrastructure: that includes cool roofs or painting house roofs in a light color to reflect heat and using sustainable cooling mechanisms.
  • Promoting urban forestry and green transport can also help curb heat emissions
  • Industries, which also act as heat traps, need to minimize heat emissions through thermal innovations.

Read more: UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS

SOURCE: THE HINDU

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