Urbanization & its Impacts in Imphal

Defined as valley, the capital city Imphal is the most urbanized region in Manipur. It stands at an elevation of 790 m above mean sea level (MSL). The Forest Survey of India (FSI), 2017 reports the presence of 16 per cent moderate forest and 38 per cent open degraded forests in Imphal west. Whereas, there is 61 per cent moderate forests and 217 per cent open degraded forests in Imphal east district.
The change is probably due to the conversion of ecological system and natural habitat to urban areas and industrial settlements. Recent felling of tree species on the western part of Kangla (Historical site), Governor Road and Chingmeirong, for widening of roads, roads partition and other linear intrusions is a basic example. Besides this, the capital is bound to attract more populace in the coming days as it is a cultural, commercial and the political center of Manipur. According to the census of 2011, the urban population of Greater Imphal has increased drastically to 0.42 million in comparison to 0.25 million as per the census of 2001. In addition, the number of vehicles registered by the Transport Department, Government of Manipur in 2016 is 0.243 million which is 0.059 million more as compared to the registrations in 2013. It means that the capital experienced high growth in the number of personalized vehicles over the last few years with almost every household having at least one vehicle each. Pollution problem is on the rise with the increase in number of both public and private vehicles.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that about seven million people die each year due to air pollution in the world. Diseases like asthma, bronchitis, lung diseases, heart diseases and respiratory allergies are associated with polluted air. Scientifically, it is well said that sudden climate change is a consequence of urbanization and increasing pollution. Such changes cause an imbalance in the natural environment resulting in the rise of carbon dioxide levels and fall in the oxygen percentage in the atmosphere. Certain areas are likely to experience the adverse effects of climate change, therefore, to control and manage urbanization and activities resulting in polluting the environment is the need of the hour. To curb pollution issues, one of the simple ways is to plant trees in urban areas. Planting trees is an easy means of controlling the increasing amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The special report of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggests that planting trees sequestered about 1.1 to 1.6 giga tonnes of carbon per year. It is more possible if the trees planted are local species as they can easily adapt to suitable environmental conditions. The local species will curb more carbon than the exotic species. Developing more green cover along the roadsides, wasteland areas or societies, parks and streets under government initiatives with public participation, can be helpful. Scientific intervention is essential from both Government and local communities so as to develop a climate resilient sustainable system in the urban areas. As a control measure, Manipur Pollution Control Board (MPCB) is dealing with automobile pollution and testing the auto emission in accordance to the pollution control norms. The board is issuing the Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificates for less polluting automobiles as per vehicle plying rules. Moreover, the Green India Mission (GIM) under National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) recognized the role of trees and green cover in the urban and peri-urban areas in the coming decade.

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