Urban Heat Islands

Increasing urbanisation causes high demand for housing in a city resulting in high rise buildings. These high rise buildings are made of steel and cement which absorb heat from the sun excessively. All cities have roads made of concrete or road metal, which adds to more heat absorption from the sun. The total result is that overall temperature condition becomes hotter and hotter. Moreover, the skyscrapers obstruct the winds which are necessary to cool the air.  This heating during the day time and lack of cooling due to obstruction of wind creates small pockets in central part of city which have very high temperatures. An urban heat island  is an urban area that is significantly warmer than its surrounding areas due to human activities. The increased heat in these pockets can be as higher as 5 degree Celsius than surrounding areas.

Harmful Effects of Urban Heat Island

Urban Heat Island causes several issues like pollution, decrease in rainfall, ozone depletion, poor air quality, higher consumption of electricity power to cool the buildings, health issues in people etc. Over concretization of city leads to loss of trees and green cover which is essential for physical and mental health of humans, birds and animals. The worst hit are children living in such cities as they grow up in a very unhealthy climate devoid of natural environment conditions.

How to tackle this problem ?

This requires a policy and implementation by the government to plan and design cities which enable the co-existence of buildings, nature, trees in a harmonious way. The cities which are already facing this problem should start planting more trees and focus on making vertical gardens and green cover. It would be best to decentralize a city’s hub centre of residence and work and focus towards horizontal growth of cities. At individual level, each person should take efforts to keep himself fit and healthy through right diet, exercise, yoga and meditation. Each person should plant trees and try to increase green cover within the city as much as possible.  Nothing is more precious than your health and well-being. If it is possible for you, simply quit such cities and move to greener areas. 

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