Greater Chennai Corporation Launches Chennai Climate Action Plan To Tackle Congestion And Pollution

Greater Chennai Corporation Launches Chennai Climate Action Plan To Tackle Congestion And Pollution

Greater Chennai Corporation Launches Chennai Climate Action Plan To Tackle Congestion And Pollution

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Chennai Corporation officials have articulated that the Chennai Climate Action Plan is geared towards building a robust evidence base regarding the city’s carbon emissions and climate risks.

10 June 2024

By Ishika Kumar

In a decisive move towards mitigating congestion and pollution, the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) has unveiled six strategic initiatives under the Chennai Climate Action Plan. These strategies, developed by the Urban Management Centre (UMC) of Ahmedabad, are meticulously designed to enhance urban sustainability and resilience.

Strategic Initiatives for a Greener Chennai

The six strategies put forth by the GCC encompass a multi-faceted approach to urban management:

1.    Enhancing Public Transport: A significant thrust is on upgrading the public transportation system. The aim is to provide more efficient, reliable and accessible transit options to reduce the dependency on private vehicles, thereby curbing emissions and easing traffic congestion.

2.    Promoting Non-Motorised Transit: The focus here is on fostering alternatives like cycling and walking. Creating safe and dedicated pathways for non-motorised transit is expected to encourage residents to opt for healthier and environmentally friendly modes of travel.

3.    Improving Walkways: Ensuring the availability and quality of pedestrian infrastructure is another crucial strategy. By making walkways more accessible and user-friendly, the GCC hopes to enhance the urban experience for pedestrians, promoting walking as a viable mode of transportation.

4.    Implementing Congestion Pricing: To discourage the use of private vehicles in densely populated areas, congestion pricing will be introduced. This strategy aims to reduce vehicular emissions by charging drivers a fee to enter high-traffic zones during peak hours.

5.    Regulating Cargo Traffic: Managing the movement of goods and service vehicles is essential to reduce road congestion and pollution. The plan includes scheduling freight transport during off-peak hours and optimising freight routes to minimise their impact on urban traffic and air quality.

6.    Managing Parking: Efficient parking management is vital to control congestion. Strategies include developing structured parking solutions, enforcing parking regulations and utilising technology for real-time parking availability updates.

Aligning with Sustainable Urban Development

The GCC’s strategies are integral to Chennai’s Third Master Plan for 2026-2046, which strives to practise sustainable urban development. The plan advocates for low-carbon infrastructure, energy-efficient buildings and resilient urban design, to mitigate immediate climate risks while fostering long-term sustainability.

The Urban Management Centre’s recent newsletter highlighted the urgency of integrating these strategies into Chennai’s urban planning framework. It emphasised these measures for effective government action against pollution.

Addressing Climate Risks and Vulnerabilities

Chennai Corporation officials have articulated that the Chennai Climate Action Plan is geared towards building a robust evidence base regarding the city’s carbon emissions and climate risks. An initial baseline study was conducted to understand the city’s current emission levels. This was followed by an emissions-modelling exercise and spatial mapping of climate risks and vulnerabilities, leading to the identification of six thematic sectors for climate action.

The UMC’s newsletter also drew attention to the severe health risks posed by air pollution, noting that it contributes to millions of deaths globally each year. Vulnerability scoping studies in Delhi and Ahmedabad have underscored the high-risk populations, occupations and locations affected by both indoor and outdoor pollutants. These insights reinforce the need for Chennai to adopt comprehensive measures to mitigate pollution and safeguard public health.

The introduction of these strategies marks a significant step in Chennai’s journey towards a sustainable and resilient urban future. By focusing on enhancing public transportation, promoting non-motorised transit, improving pedestrian infrastructure, implementing congestion pricing, regulating freight traffic and managing parking, the GCC aims to address the multifaceted challenges of urban congestion and pollution. 

As Chennai integrates these strategies into its urban development plans, the city sets a precedent for other urban centres grappling with similar issues. The GCC’s proactive approach reflects a commitment to fostering an environment that not only addresses immediate climate challenges but also ensures a healthier, more sustainable future for its residents.