Kolkata gets global recognition for tackling climate change

Only Indian city to get the prestigious best cities of 2016 award


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December 3, 2016

/ By / Kolkata

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Kolkata is leading Indian cities in terms of solid waste management (MIG Photo)

Kolkata is leading Indian cities in terms of solid waste management (MIG Photo)

Kolkata bags the best cities of 2016 award along with Paris and nine other cities across the globe for its inspiring and innovative efforts towards climate change and solid waste management. At the C40 Mayors Summit held in Mexico City, the capital of West Bengal was the only Indian city to receive this prestigious award.

Apart from Kolkata and Paris, the other cities that won the award are Addis Adaba, Copenhagen, Curitiba, Sydney and Melbourne, Portland, Seoul, Shenzhen, and Yokohama.

Addressing the climate change for a long time, Paris has been playing a leading role in advancing a more integrated approach. The city hosted the historic UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in December 2015 where mayors of various cities played a major role. Proving the event was not an isolated initiative but a part of a mass movement, 50 mayors and 27 deputy mayors from world’s largest cities met in Mexico City for the sixth biennial C40 Mayors Summit. The agenda was to look at the initiatives and advance efforts towards a low-carbon and resilient urban future.

“The C40 Cities Awards recognise the best and boldest work being done by mayors to fight climate change and protect people from risks,” said C40 President of the Board and UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael R Bloomberg. “The winning projects show that great progress is being made on every continent, and they serve as an inspiration to other cities. They also show how cities can help the world meet the ambitious goals set a year ago in Paris,” he said.

Kolkata’s praised waste management system

Kolkata’s waste management system received a grand applause for the ground level work and the inspiring initiative taken to educate people on personal basis. Apart from Kolkata, Indian cities such as Mumbai, Chennai and New Delhi are members of the C40 Mayors Summit.

“Kolkata Solid Waste Management Improvement Project has achieved 60-80 pc (depending on site) segregation of waste at its source, with further waste segregation occurring at transfer stations,” a media release said on the occasion of international summit of Mayors from millions plus cities.

“Forward looking, the project aims to eradicate open dumping and burning of waste and to limit the concentration of methane gas generated in landfill sites,” it said.

“The project involved 100 per cent door to door collection of solid waste, segregation and recycling by way of compositing which is sold in the market,” Onkar Singh-Meena, Secretary Municipal Affairs and CEO of Kolkata Municipal Development Authority said.

“One significant aspect of this project is that rag pickers are part of it,” added Meena, from New Mexico who is leading the Kolkata delegation to the Mayors Summit.

Identifying knowledge gaps

The trouble is that while many cities have put climate change and rising inequalities at the top of their policy agendas, policy makers still need more tools to help them. This is why the OECD and C40, a network of cities that addresses climate change, are now joining forces to identify knowledge gaps, advance research, and ultimately promote best practices and policy solutions for achieving more inclusive, sustainable cities.

“On behalf of C40, I want to congratulate all the winning cities for their commitment to their citizens and their dedication to tackling climate change,” said the outgoing C40 Chair and Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes. “Throughout my tenure as C40 Chair, I have been increasingly impressed by the calibre of the C40 Cities Award winners, and I look forward to seeing other mayors around the world adapting and implementing these models in their own cities,” he added.

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