The Environment Status Report (ESR) for 2016 by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has categorically stated that construction activities in the city has led to the Urban Heat Island Effect, as the temperature in Pune is higher than its surrounding rural areas.
In the report, tabled during the PMC’s General Body meeting on Friday, the civic administration has outlined the impact of the Urban Heat Island Effect. “The use of air-conditioners in the city has increased in the last few years due to an increase in temperature. This has led to an increase in power consumption,” it said.
According to the report, buildings, road, footpaths and other constructions absorb heat and release it later, which increases the temperature of the surroundings. The use of tar and cement also triggers thermal changes, due to which the temperature in urban areas change, and a ‘heat island’ is created.
“There has been an increase of 10,94,231 sq metre FSI of construction last year, while permission has been given for new construction of 42,97,087 sq meter. The change in the use of land, increasing construction activity and human interference in nature are the main reasons for the Urban Heat Island Effect… there is a difference of 4 to 5 degrees between the temperature of the city and that of rural areas over the past few years,” it said.
The report states that there is a direct impact of the Urban Heat Island Effect on human health, reflected in symptoms such as heat stroke, headache and tiredness. The best solution to reduce the effect is to plant more trees, as they help in reducing the temperature of the surroundings, stated the report. Similarly, setting up a kitchen garden and using high solar reflective index paint helps in reducing the Urban Heat Island Effect.
The civic body also noted that local residents have taken environment-friendly measures to avail the discount in property tax. A total of 57,065 Puneites are availing the discount in property tax to implement measures such as using solar energy, rainwater harvesting and vermicomposting.