Context: India must include financial incentives for adoption of effective cooling plans.
- India has been registering instances of anomalous weather with alarming frequency with an erratic monsoon, landslides, coastal erosion etc.
- An analysis of public weather data over the last half a century by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), suggests that the all-India average temperature during the monsoon months (June-September) is higher than the summer months (March-May).
- Monsoon temperatures are 0.4°C higher than average summer temperatures in 2012-2021.
- From 2015-2020, 2,137 people had reportedly died due to heat stroke in northwest India and southern India had reported 2,444 deaths due to excess environmental heat, with Andhra Pradesh accounting for over half the reported casualties.
- The urban heat island effect — whereby cities because of concrete surfaces and dense populations tend to on average be hotter than rural habitations — also contributed to heat stress.
- Indian authorities are cognisant of these trends with some States, led by Gujarat, having Heat Action Plans (HAP).
- The National Disaster Management Authority is working with 23 out of 28 heat-prone States to develop HAPs that stress changes in the built environment
- using material that keeps the indoors cooler, having an early warning system about heatwaves and improving health infrastructure to treat heat stroke patients.
It is time that India includes financial incentives, preferably via Budget outlays, for effective cooling plans. Adapting to and mitigating this most visceral challenge is the need of the hour.
Source: The Hindu