• Thursday, July 25, 2024

Environment

While Delhi reels under extreme heat, its warm nights are worrying experts

One expert said concrete buildings absorb heat throughout the day and release it at night, which means that minimum temperatures are on the rise in the big cities.

A man riding a motocycle covers his face with cloth on a hot summer evening near Mungeshpur, a suburb in New Delhi on May 29, 2024, amid the ongoing heatwave. (Photo by ARUN SANKAR/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

WHILE north India continues to reel under a prolonged streak of heatwave, experts are feeling worried over the fact that India’s big cities are becoming heat islands with the mercury touching unprecedented levels even during the night.

Rajneesh Sareen, who leads the Sustainable Habitat Programme at Centre for Science and Environment, a think-tank in Delhi, which has witnessed extreme heat that even claimed lives, told Indian broadcaster NDTV that excessive construction and construction in big cities such as Delhi have caused the current hardship.

He said concrete buildings absorb heat throughout the day and release it at night, which means that minimum temperatures are on the rise in big cities of the country.

On Tuesday (18), the Indian capital saw its warmest night in 12 years, with the temperature reaching 35.2 degrees Celsius, eight marks above normal.

Sareen said while daytime temperature would be high earlier, people would get relief at night, the report added. He also said that the instances of explosion of air-conditioning machines are happening because of the ‘heat-island’ thing.

Heat islands are metropolitan areas that are warmer than the surrounding rural regions. Factors that cause such islands to form are rapid construction, high density of population and emissions from vehicles, among others.

Advising a reduced use of concrete, Sareen told the outlet that the greenery in Delhi is getting reduced due to construction and concretisation and added that high-rise buildings also affect the movement of wind.

He also referred to the Connaught Place area of the city, which is its business hub, saying green areas there have only become less over the years, resulting in more heat.

The expert said that there is no easy exit from the problem since concrete structures lie everywhere. Only a reduction in use of concrete can lead to relief, he added.

Nine people have died of heatstroke in Delhi over the past few weeks, while a number of people are on life support. Hospitals in the capital are witnessing a large number of admissions due to heatstroke and the Indian health ministry has asked the state-run hospitals to treat patients of heatstroke on priority.

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