KOCHI: Rising sea levels, temperature, waterlogging and groundwater contamination are issues that have to be addressed seriously by the city corporation, said experts from German-based ICLEI, which promotes sustainable local governments, while issuing draft guidelines to address problems related to climate change.
During the interaction with Kochi corporation officials last week, experts from the agency, coordinating the AsianCities Adapt project, asked local authorities to spread awareness on the issue among stakeholders, including citizens.
"We had done a vulnerability assessment of Kochi city and identified urban systems that are already fragile. After studying the data and discussing the issues with various experts from different fields, we have drafted guidelines on how to communicate the same to stakeholders. This has been given to the city corporation," said Sunandan Tiwari, project coordinator, ICLEI South Asia.
According to the draft, urban systems that will suffer the most from climate change are sewerage and septage management, drainage, health, solid waste management, transportation, sea erosion, water supply and related resources. "The water supply system is fragile because of shortage of water supply during summer, salt water intrusion and groundwater contamination due to poor septage management system. Increased precipitation can lead to flooding and consequent contamination especially in Fort Kochi and Mattancherry," experts said.
"We have to develop an adaptation strategy and implement a number of measures to minimize the impact at local level. But with the support of data, we will be able to incorporate changes at policy level," said town planning standing committee chairman K J Sohan. Corporation's centre for heritage, environment and development director Rajan Chedambath, who is the local coordinator, said that ICLEI has asked for feedback after interactionswith resident associations, institutions, stakeholders and government organizations. "Based on our feedback, the action plan will be developed by ICLEI for all the four cities, including Kochi, Vizag, Howrah and Madurai," he said.