Delhi, November 30, 2017: To reverse the damages made to our city which witnessed life threatening air pollution, GRIHA (Green Ratings for Integrated habitat Assessment) and AAI (Airports Authority of India) have initiated a year-long programme to promote sustainability in Delhi and other cities across the country. The beginning of this initiative was marked with ‘Chhaya’ – a tree plantation drive, which was organized today in Kendriya Vidyalaya, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi. The drive is a prelude to The 9th GRIHA Summit, scheduled for 18-19 December at India Habitat Centre.
Speaking on this joint initiative, Mr. Rakesh Kalra, Regional Executive Director, Northern Region, Airports Authority of India said, “Aviation as an industry is contributing to only 2% of the global CO2 emissions. Although, this may not appear to be a very significant contribution, initiatives like Chhaya will improve the quality of life in urban habitats.”
In this ever growing human civilisation, the extent of urbanisation has become a measure for evaluating the economic success of a nation. With India emerging as one of the world’s fastest growing economies, rapid urbanisation has been integral to this process. This pace of urbanisation has consequently affected the green cover of our landscape, thereby having an adverse impact on our environment. Pollution at various levels has become an inherent problem affecting cities which have large scale ongoing construction activities.
Highlighting the importance of the drive, Dr. Ajay Mathur, Director General, TERI and President GRIHA Council said, “In order to adopt a decent quality of life for citizens, there has to be sustainable alternatives readily available.” Addressing the students, he counselled, “Each one of you is an ambassador for reducing CO2 emissions. You are the creators and citizens of a sustainable future.”
He further emphasized the role of the GRIHA Council in promoting sustainable habitats and aligning itself with the policies of the Government of India by adding, “It has been estimated that half of India will be built by 2030, which gives us an opportunity for mainstreaming sustainable housing in our development process. Our initiative “Chhaya – a tree plantation drive” is proposed with the manifesto of creating awareness on reducing the negative impacts of urbanisation and maintaining ecological balance in cities. This initiative of ours is greatly influenced by the Swacch Bharat Mission launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister.”
Sharing his thoughts on the plantation drive, Mr. Sanjay Seth, CEO, GRIHA Council, said, “GRIHA has been showcased as a tool for sustainable urbanisation. This has been the result of our consistent efforts in providing a ready-to-apply solution to curb greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). To reduce environmental degradation, it is important for us to check the receding green cover.”
‘Chhaya’ aims to provide natural shade in open spaces by increasing green cover which will help in reducing Urban Heat Island Effect (UHIE) and improving air quality. During the drive, students from Kendriya Vidyala AAI, Suraj Bhan DAV Public School, DAV Public School, The Heritage School, Bhatnagar International School and G.D. Goenka Public School planted saplings.