KOCHI: Kochi has been facing the brunt of climate change over the last couple of decades. While nursing the aspirations of becoming a global metro, the city planners seem to have given little thought to an eco-friendly approach that can withstand extreme climate crises. Shedding light on the aspect, ‘Connect Karo,’ a virtual conference organised by the World Resources Institute (WRI), has called for a comprehensive action plan by combining disaster management strategies, nature-based solutions and timely awareness.
Experts point out various methods to make Kochi more inclusive and resilient towards climate change by ensuring access to water, sanitation, hygiene and green spaces. “Kochi has many opportunities to create climate-friendly development strategies. Considering the activities of agencies like Kochi Metropolitan Transport Authority, Kochi is doing well on electric mobility, hydrogen-powered vehicles and more. They have also developed people-friendly spaces across the city. Through initiatives like ‘Connect Karo,’ we are trying to showcase such activities and take the discussions to the next level,” said O P Agarwal, CEO, WRI.
According to experts, Kochi needs to do more to face the climate crisis. “Almost 31 per cent of Kochi’s population is exposed to temperatures above 30 degrees celsius and about 26 per cent of the population lives in flood-prone areas. The city can take the lead on a macro-level action plan that climate-proofs the city and sets a model for others to follow. We are trying to make people take part in the solution through our initiative. WRI is aiming to make smart interventions to positively impact the quality of life of Kochi,” said a WRI India official.
Kochi Mayor M Anilkumar inaugurated the event. “Kochi has been feeling the pinch of climate change for a while now, with the water levels increasing in the backwaters and sea erosion quite rampant in many parts of the city. We are taking measures to reduce carbon emission in the city by introducing water metro services, e-autos, reducing the use of plastic and ensuring proper waste management,” he said. K J Sohan, state convener of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach), and Anita Mohandas, associate environmental engineer, Cochin Smart Mission Limited (CSML) were also part of the session.