Concretisation sending temperatures up in Ghaziabad: Experts

Ghaziabad, June 9 (IANS) Concretisation of open spaces in Uttar Pradesh's Ghaziabad, on the edge of the national capital, has been leading to considerable rise in temperatures and adding to the challenge of already depleting ground water levels in the town, warn enviromentalists.

Analyzing temperatures recorded at various locations at the same time Sunday afternoon, experts found stark variations in the levels. While the temperature recorded on an open ground surface was found to be 48 degrees Celsius, it was 45 degrees Celsius on a dry grass surface.

However, the temperature recorded on a ground covered with interlocking tiles was an alarming 51 degrees Celsius.

According to experts, this points out that stress on concretisation of open and green spaces by local development agencies, including Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation, is intervening with the radiation balance and leading to increase in temperatures locally.

"All the principles of urban planning are being sidelined and only monetary gains are being considered. Such a pattern of planning is completely flawed and unsustainable. Our future generations have to pay dearly for such kind of destructive development," said Akash Vashishtha, an environment conservationist.

Ghaziabad has been declared a "critical area" by the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) owing to the town's depleting ground water level. Since local agencies have failed to develop enough water harvesting systems, extensive concretisation is aggravating the crisis by preventing percolation of water to aquifers, Vashishtha added.

"Most of the open spaces, especially in the residential areas, have been tiled. Due to this, rain water flows into drains rather than getting absorbed. This has been photographed and recorded," said Vashishtha, who runs the Hindustan Environment Action Group (HEAG).

Rampant concretisation by urban planning agencies has also been destroying the green cover as several hundred trees have choked and died due to "close-root tiling", according to environmental experts.

Besides two orders of the Delhi High Court directing urban planning agencies to leave 6X6 feet space open around the base of a tree, the National Green Tribunal also recently ordered to leave one metre space open around every tree. However, the orders are being openly flouted, they said.

Another environmentalist Vikrant Tongad said: "We have urged the Central Ground Water Authority to take immediate action to prevent an ecological disaster. Large-scale concretisation has compacted the soil and destroyed its physical and chemical properties. It is an irreversible and permanent hazard."

However, Rajendra Tyagi, Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation councillor from Raj Nagar ward, said: "The inter-locking tiles have made the town neat and clean. We have not endangered trees. The environmentalists are creating unnecessary hue and cry. They want to drag us into primitive ages."

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