A large number of Karachiites died as a result of Urban Heat Islands (UHIs) which was a climatic heatwave in June 2015. The situation got severe due to lack of water, electricity load shedding and a scarcity of life-saving medicines. The public service departments blamed one another.
In this time of crisis, both the government and the general public must learn a lesson from the disaster and raise awareness about how to avoid and deal with similar tragedies in the future.
First and foremost, we explain the entire phenomenon. It not only wreaked havoc on the lives of Karachiites but also shattered the minds of the entire country.
We are all aware that the world’s population is rapidly increasing. Along with the increase in population, there will be an advancement in technology. Population growth influences direct and indirect environmental consequences. The uncontrollable expansion of UHIs is one such unknown, usually ignored effect.
The formation of these heat islands is primarily due to the building material. But the rapid expansion of cities also contributes.
Heat islands hit the areas of the urban landscape with a temperature difference between them and the cooler surrounding areas. Temperature fluctuations of up to ten degrees are possible.
When a heatwave turns a city into a furnace where citizens swelter, suffer or even die, climatologists refer to this as the “Urban Heat Islands” effect. The phenomenon is a major source of concern in hot countries, where global warming is expected to raise peak temperatures even higher in the coming years. Cities store heat from the Sun and traffic during the day in concrete and tarmac and release it at night. During a heatwave, however, an infernal cycle begins.
Because the night is not long enough for all of the heat to dissipate, the new day is already warm and can only get warmer.
The older people and the sick are particularly vulnerable in the absence of cooling and relief.
In 2003, a heat wave killed 70,000 people in Europe as temperatures reached 35 degrees Celsius. It engulfed Western countries once more in 2013, killing 1,400 people.
Steps to Prevent (UHIs)
There are some simple, appropriate and easy steps that can be taken to avoid the disastrous effects of UHIs.
♠ The first thing we can do is to plant as many trees as possible to provide shade. However, we must exercise caution while planting. It must not prevent downward breezes from reaching the streets, as this could make things warmer and trap pollution.
♠ We must gain a better understanding of how our city interacts with the weather system and the types of vegetation that work best.
♠ Running water, like streams through cities, is another idea. It will not only absorb a lot of heat, but it will also make the atmosphere pleasant.
♠ Buildings must be architecturally designed which can absorb less heat and be fully ventilated.
♠ Cool roofs with shrubs and small saplings planted on the tops of buildings are another option. Painting or covering doesn’t prevent the roofs from absorbing heat. Use light colours in the buildings because dark colours absorb more heat and emit it slowly. Light colours absorb less heat.
♠ Educate people about global warming, climatic changes, and their negative effects on weather conditions. Make them aware to take appropriate actions to make weather and climate pleasant.