Mumbai is among the world's greatest 31 cities that have signed the C40 Urban Nature Declaration which aims at creating more public green and blue spaces. This initiative has been taken up with a view of making these metropolises greener in the coming years. Apart from this, this decision is expected to speed up the existing efforts to make communities healthier, improve air quality and help protect towns from the dire consequences of climate change, such as extreme heat, flooding and drought.
Amendments made to Trees Act
The mayors of these 31 cities have committed to further expand, restore and protect urban parks, trees, gardens, ponds and lakes in their cities. The state government is making amendments to the Tree Act, to conserve old trees in Mumbai. They have also ideated the prevention of felling of trees and are aiming at protecting more mangroves.
In this regard, Maharashtra's Minister for Environment and Climate Change said- "Climate change is the greatest inequity -- the ones least responsible are most affected. I am certain that Mumbai will be a shining example of how diverse ecosystems can thrive in urban environments to achieve inclusive climate resilience for all."
Global initiatives for green development
In Durban, a Transformative Riverine Management Programme has already been implemented to improve the city's river. Additionally, this programme shall also help in creating thousands of eco-friendly employment opportunities. Barcelona has decided to subsidise 75 per cent of the cost on green projects, such as rainwater collection and composting for organic waste.
In Guadalajara, plans to plant 67,000 new trees across 70 green corridors are underway. Over 50 new public gardens will be introduced to provide shade and leisure spots. Further, the city is funding courses to train gardeners and tree technicians, apart from providing 400 workshops for residents on caring for trees and gardens.
Toronto is educating and engaging communities through planting events, educational workshops and youth programming. Moreover, under Toronto's Urban Forests Grants and Incentives programme, over 13,000 trees and shrubs will be planted across the city.
What issues do cities signing the C40 declaration address?
Cities that have signed the C40 declaration are aiming to ensure that by 2030, 30-40 per cent of the total built-up city surface consists of green spaces. To do so, they are addressing heat and water-related risks, building sustainable drainage systems and designing pavements that absorb water to prevent flooding.
Establishing environmental equity, these metropolises shall also focus on promoting accessibility and connectivity to green spaces for 70 per cent of their total population. This is being done because several studies and research shows that equitable access to urban nature is beneficial for both human and the environment, as it helps in adapting and responding to future impacts of any climate changes.
Progress noted internationally
In Spain's Medellin, planting more than 10,000 trees for the city's Green Corridors project has resulted in the temperature being reduced by two degrees Celsius. Also, a study in Toronto found that adding only 10 trees to every city block has a huge impact on people's perceptions of their health and well-being.
Need for C40 declaration
Climate change is projecting a crisis situation that will have a global impact in the coming years. With an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, temperature and sea levels continue to rise, hence, it has never been more urgent to accelerate efforts to bring nature into cities.
It is expected that by 2050, over 570 cities will be vulnerable to sea-level rise, over 500 cities will face issues pertaining to the availability of water and over 970 cities will be battling extreme heat. Thereby, the C40 Cities ED states- "Supporting and protecting cities' natural ecosystems is one of our most important tools for building resiliency against the climate crisis and creating the healthy, inclusive urban communities we deserve."
Through the C40 declaration, the C40 mayors are leading their cities towards a greener, livable, climate-ready and crisis prepared future. Apart from addressing environment-related challenges, these leaders are also aiming towards a green and just recovery from the pandemic.
-With inputs from IANS