Gujarat’s ‘Solar City’ of Rajkot has stolen the limelight yet again, this time for winning the much coveted and highly competitive title of ‘National Earth Hour Capital of India’ for 2016.
The title, a part of WWF’s Earth Hour City Challenge (EHCC), is awarded to cities that have gone the extra mile to put in place effective long-term measures for sustainable development. It is an acknowledgement of the city’s efforts to work towards a greener tomorrow.
For the last couple of years now, Rajkot has forged resolutely ahead in the sectors of renewable energy and sustainable development.
Image Source: Wikipedia
The city was the first in the state of Gujarat to make installation of solar water heaters on residential high-rises mandatory. It even offered tax-rebates as a one-time incentive to encourage people to comply with the eco-friendly measure.
The Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) even amended existing bylaws to make rooftop rainwater harvesting compulsory in buildings with a built-up area of 80 sq m or more.
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Additionally, many of the RMC’s own offices are powered by renewable energy. The Corporation also introduced the use of low-energy consuming LEDs in the place of regular streetlights.
In 2014, its environment friendly measures promoted World Resources Institute (WRI) to predict at the UN Climate Change Conference in Peru that by 2016, Rajkot would be successful in reducing its carbon dioxide emissions by 14%.
This latest recognition of its efforts is yet another affirmation of the praiseworthy work being undertaken in the city.
These eco-friendly measures were even mentioned in a WWF statement:
“Its strong focus on community engagement for sustainable development and adoption of renewable energy are among the key reasons for the city’s win.”
“This is an international recognition of our commitment towards embracing renewable energy and other initiatives to reduce carbon emission. Now, any global agency that takes up projects on green energy will look at Rajkot to work with us,” Municipal Commissioner Vijay Nehra told The Times of India.
Close to 125 cities from 21 countries across the globe participated in this year’s EHCC. 11 Indian cities even qualified for the finals. Thane, Coimbatore and New Delhi are the previous winners of this title.