In June 2016, people of Meenangadi, a small town in Kerala, pledged to make it the first carbon neutral panchayat in the state. Today, in the span of seven months, the town is closer than ever to its goal and a number of programmes have been initiated to achieve it.
Despite being a small town in Wayanad district, the region is incredibly bio-diverse (being a part of the Western Ghats). And numerous people from different backgrounds are coming together to ensure that this project is successful by 2020. This includes students, scientists and also people’s representatives.
The town has already conducted a soil audit, plant population census, energy audit, and more. There is also a concerted campaign against the use of plastic bags in the region. People cultivate organic vegetables and they will soon be expanding the forest cover.
Image for representation. Photo source
Becoming carbon neutral by 2020 means that this region will achieve net zero carbon emissions, which will happen when carbon dioxide emitted as a result of human activities is countered or entirely removed from the atmosphere.
With climate change continuing to pose an immediate threat to the planet, such an initiative is indeed noteworthy. The project was a brainchild of Finance Minister of Kerala, Thomas Isaac. Back in 2016, he spoke to The Times of India saying, “Once Meenangadi achieves carbon neutrality, it will have a significant and positive impact across various sectors including agriculture. The agriculture produce from the panchayat, including coffee, can be marketed with the carbon-neutral tag.”
According to the minister, this is just the beginning. The state is already looking towards making Wayanad the first carbon neutral district in the country. Wayanad was one of the four districts in the state that were labelled climate change “hotspots” in a report from State Action Plan on Climate Change. The report stated the temperature in Kerala will rise by two degrees Celsius if immediate action is not taken to counter the effects of climate change.