NASHIK: On Thursday, the state environment and climate change department announced Nashik’s entry in a global ‘Race to Zero’ campaign, started by the United Nations Framework on Climate Change Last December. Nashik is the first non-metro city of India to join the carbonneutrality race, with Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, and Aurangabad ready to join the race soon, stated officials associated with the development.
State Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray announced in April while in a virtual meeting with Climate Voices - an association of three independent environment groups in India. “Cities joining ‘Race to Zero’ will aim at preventing future climate threats, create jobs, and unlock equitable and sustainable growth. These cities must publicly acknowledge and recognise the global climate emergency, keeping climate resilience in line with urban decision making, pledging to reach net-zero (carbon emissions) in the 2040s or sooner,” Climate Voices stated back then.
The development follows this announcement, and the environment department stated that Nashik city has come up with nine commitments that will help the city attain ‘net zero’ status by 2040. Commitments include the development of a ‘complete neighbourhood’ in the city for residents to be able to purchase items by covering a short distance by walking or cycling rather than travelling long distances on motorcycles.
The city will also enact regulations making it mandatory for all building and development projects to operate with net carbon emission by 2030. Under the Race to Zero initiative, the city will “create financial support programs to incentivise the deployment of building-scale renewables and mandate the use of renewables through building codes,” the environment department said in a statement.
Other commitments include setting up a base level of air pollutants to set targets to reduce pollution and meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards criteria. The city aims to adopt cleaner public transport for residents. The city has also started its own bus service where the CNG and diesel are functioning currently, and electric buses will join up soon.
NMC plans to utilise grants (Rs 20.5 Cr) received from the 15th Finance Commission to reduce air pollution by constructing electric crematoriums and practicing sanitary waste management technologies as unsanitary landfills add up to climate change-associated emissions. “In the city, all generated waste will be collected, and residual waste will be disposed of adequately in an engineered sanitary landfill,” the environment department said. Municipal Commissioner Kailas Jadhav said, “Reducing air pollution is a major step towards tackling climate change and achieving carbon neutrality.