As Hyderabad sizzles, shrinking greenery and urbanization to blame for rising temperatures.

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With temperatures rising every day in different parts of Telangana, experts have blamed shrinking greenery and rapid depletion of water bodies in the state for the alarming situation.

Telangana always had harsh summers, leading to drought-like situation in several parts of the state. However, the situation has become worse in the last decade due to rapid decline in greenery.

Speaking to The News Minute, Manikonda Vedakumar, a Hyderabad-based environmentalist says, “The greenery has reduced by nearly 40% in rural areas, while due to rapid urbanisation, the greenery in Hyderabad has come down by 60%. This has been one of the main reasons for increase in temperatures over the past two years.”

On Thursday, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a warning on its website, saying that the maximum temperature will continue to be above normal by 2 degrees and is likely to be above 40 degrees at isolated places across Telangana.

“In April and May, the temperature might go as high as 45 degree Celsius. While for next few days, the temperature will stay at least 2 to 3 degrees above the maximum temperature,” said Dr. Nagaratna, a scientist from IMD Hyderabad.

Telangana being a rocky region absorbs the sun’s radiation after sunrise. Since the state is not a coastal region which would have helped in cooling the land in the evening, the atmosphere remains hot in the state.

“This makes 1pm to 4pm the hottest hour of the day, because there is no sea breeze to cool the land. Even lakes like Hussain Sagar can only cool nearby areas after 6pm. But they will not make much difference in other parts of the city,” she said.

Another reason for climate change is pollution, say scientists.

With rapid urbanisation, the pollution level of the city has gone up which has contributed to the rising temperatures in the city.

According to a recent study quoted in Hindustan Times, Hyderabad is among the 44 major cities in the world that will witness intensifying heat stress even after 2015 Paris climate targets are achieved.

“Unfortunately, most of the urban cities are not planned properly. All the plans are made so that the city looks good. Poorly constructed buildings in different parts of the city trap the heat. And the heat remains trapped between the buildings thereby increasing the temperature, due to lack of parks and open spaces,” said Anant Mariganti, executive director of Hyderabad Urban Lab.

“This city was once called the city of lakes, now water bodies have reduced by 70% in the city, this is also one of the reasons for the climate change.

With the increase in population in the city, pollution levels have also increased. The water bodies which can help bring down the temperature are either polluted or encroached upon,” says Manikonda.

The temperature is likely to worsen and the number of days that may see heat wave-like conditions could be higher than last year, points out Dr. Nagaratna.

“This might raise health issues in the city. People are advised to be careful while they go out, as they might suffer from heat stroke. Newborns and senior citizens are more vulnerable to suffer from heat stroke during this weather,” warned the scientist.

 

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