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The Asian Green City Index, commissioned by Siemens, analyzed the environmental sustainability of 22 major cities in Asia with respect to environmental and climate protection. The unique research project came up with interesting findings including the fact that Singapore is Asia’s greenest metropolis. Singapore stands out in particular for its ambitious environmental targets and its efficient approach to achieving them. However, in other Asian cities as well, environmental awareness and climate protection guidelines are playing an increasingly important role.
Some interesting findings of the report include:
1. Of the 22 cities, Mumbai, is the densest city in the Index with 27,000 people per square kilometers - more than 27 times more tightly packed than Wuhan, which has less than 1,000 people per square kilometre.
2. Kolkata benefits from a relatively low level of water consumption, at 138 litres per person per day - this is one of the best rates among the 22 cities, and better than the average of 278 litres. The low rates might partly be explained, by a lack of supply.
3. Delhi has an extraordinarily low per capita waste generation figure of 147 kg per year - Delhi’s “traditional culture of careful consumption”, which economic growth has not yet eroded, helps explain. The city’s advanced policies, including one of the more robust strategies to reduce, re-use and recycle waste, also demonstrate how much can be achieved with limited resources.
4. Bangalore/Bengaluru has some of the lowest levels of CO 2 emissions per capita – this is partially reflected in the fact that 30% of Bangalore’s/Bengaluru’s energy consumed comes from renewable energy and 61% of the electricity is generated from renewable sources, mainly hydropower. The city’s relatively low income, resulting in a less energy-intensive lifestyle, also plays a part in reducing CO 2 emissions, as does the shift from heavy industry to IT-related businesses. The national government’s policies to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy have also been important contributory factors.
5. There is a variation in green spaces from 2 square metres per person in Kolkata, to 166 square metres per person in Guangzhou.
6. Asian cities produce less waste per capita than Europe and Latin America, but waste collection is less effective. The 22 Asian cities generate an average of 380 kg of waste per person per year, compared with 465 kg in Latin America and 511 kg in Europe.
7. The 22 Asian cities use an average of 277 litres of water per person per day, which is slightly higher than the figure for Latin America, 264 litres, but lower than the figure for Europe, at 288 litres.
8. Air pollution is a serious problem across Asia, with average levels of the three pollutants evaluated in the Index exceeding the safe levels set down by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
From India, 4 cities have been featured in this report – Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Bengaluru. When asked about the Indian Cities featured in the report, Dr. Armin Bruck, MD, Siemens Ltd. said: “India has witnessed a tremendous economic boom in the last decade, so much so that infrastructure development in terms of roads, water management etc. is yet to keep pace with the needs of the cities – thus affecting the ‘environment friendliness’ or ‘green levels’ within the cities. However, I am happy to see that the governments have taken various initiatives and measures to identify and overcome these issues by making government buildings green, use of energy efficient transport infrastructure and promoting the use of alternative fuels such as CNG to prevent further ecological damage”
“The Asian Green City Index supports cities in their efforts to expand their infrastructures on a sustainable basis. We want to enable Asia’s up-and-coming urban centers to achieve healthy growth rates coupled with a high quality of life,” said Barbara Kux, member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG and the company’s Chief Sustainability Officer.
The Asian Green City Index examines the environmental performance of 22 major Asian cities in eight categories: energy and CO2, land use and buildings, transport, waste, water, sanitation, air quality and environmental governance. The EIU developed the methodology in cooperation with leading urban experts around the world, including representatives of the OECD, the World Bank and Asia’s regional network of local authorities, CITYNET. “The study of Asian cities shows one thing very clearly: higher income does not necessarily mean higher resource consumption. While resource consumption increases substantially up to an annual gross domestic product (GDP) of about €15,000 per capita, it drops again when income rises beyond this,” said Jan Friederich, research head of the EIU study. Why? In the prosperous Asian cities, environmental awareness is greater and infrastructures are more efficient. These cities are actively cutting their consumption of natural resources and are thus developing more sustainably. “In addition, cities that performed well in the Index are characterized by their ability to successfully implement environmental projects and consistently enforce regulations,” explained Friederich.
Also among the study’s particularly gratifying results were the following:
1. Mumbai, even though it has a fragmented energy delivery market which makes overarching conservation projects difficult formed the Mumbai Energy Alliance in September 2009. The alliance is a partnership between the Mumbai government, the International Institute for Energy Conservation, and others, including energy companies, to implement energy efficiency programmes in the region. A pipeline of proposed projects is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 13 million tonnes.
2. To help address the high rate of water leakage, the Delhi city government set-up a leak detection and investigation unit. The unit initially began work with sounding rods and pipe locators but is now equipped with more modern sonic and electronic equipment.
3. Delhi’s environment department has been using approximately 1,000 school “eco-clubs” to try to shape students’ views. The clubs have broad aims, and engage students in a wide variety of projects, including educating future environmentalists in planting trees, conserving water, creating nature trails and minimising waste. Thus providing a convenient way to spread information on environmental campaigns, such as the city’s efforts to reduce the use of firecrackers during Diwali celebrations. While the environmental department provides the framework for the clubs, along with a small subsidy of about US$200 to each, but the enthusiasm of the students and teachers is what really drives the idea. For a very small investment, Delhi has been able to harness existing interest in the environment in a way that greatly encourages sustainability now and will shape attitudes among residents for years to come.
4. Kolkata receives credit for having green standards for public building projects and for publicly promoting energy efficiency in buildings. In addition to making an initial attempt to promote the use of solar power and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, by making all backlit billboards in the state solar powered Kolkata also has nine residential projects which have received recognition from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, an internationally recognized green building certification system developed by the US Green Building Council.
According to the study, the biggest challenges facing Asia’s cities are in the following areas:
- Air pollution levels are relatively high in all the cities studied, regardless of income. The average values for all the cities substantially exceed WHO standards.
- Asia’s metropolises have much catching up to do in the area of renewable energies, which on average account for 11 percent of the total electricity generated in the 22 cities. By comparison, the average in Latin America is 64 percent – due to the high proportion of hydroelectric power plants there.
The progressive rural exodus in Asia is unprecedented in human history. According to the United Nations Population Division, the proportion of Asia’s population living in cities has grown in the last 20 years by around a third to over 40 percent. In the last five years alone, the number of inhabitants in Asian cities has been increasing by about 100,000 a day. And this development will continue in the years to come. In China alone, experts predict that by 2025 there will be well over 200 cities with a population of over a million. Today there are just under 90, while Europe currently has 25.
The increasing urbanization is having an enormous impact on the infrastructure: with the additional number of inhabitants, correspondingly more energy, clean water, transportation and energy-efficient homes are required. The Asian Development Bank estimates that to cope with the influx, the Asian cities must for example build 20,000 new homes and 250 kilometers of road and provide transportation infrastructure and an extra six million liters of drinking water, all on a daily basis. In addition, the cities are the main emitters of harmful greenhouse gases: Cities are the growth engines of the future, but they are also responsible for 75 percent of worldwide energy consumption and for around 80 percent of the human CO2 emissions. “The battle against climate change will be decided in cities. This applies to Asia, with its booming conurbations, more than anywhere else on earth. Only green cities will make life worth living over the long term,” said Barbara Kux.
With its Environmental Portfolio, Siemens is the ideal partner for sustainable city development, which is based on energy and resource efficiency. The company has the largest and most comprehensive range of green technologies for the environmentally friendly development of infrastructure – from efficient and clean energy generation, transmission and use to public transport and water treatment systems. In fiscal 2010 alone, the company generated revenue of around €28 billion with its Environmental Portfolio. Some of this came from projects in Asian cities, involving for example the expansion and modernization of their railway networks, urban power supply systems and building automation.
The scope of the Green City Index is unique in the world. Asia is already the third region that has been analyzed for Siemens in this way by the EIU. The series began in 2009 with the European Green City Index, which identified Copenhagen (Denmark) as the greenest metropolis. In 2010 this was followed by the Latin American Green City Index, where Curitiba (Brazil) came out on top. Similar studies are planned for other parts of the world.
Overview of the overall Asian Green City Index results:
Further information and the detailed results of the study can be found here:
Siemens AG (Berlin and Munich) is a global powerhouse in electronics and electrical engineering, operating in the industry, energy and healthcare sectors. For over 160 years, Siemens has stood for technological excellence, innovation, quality, reliability and internationality. The company is the world’s largest provider of environmental technologies, generating some €28 billion – more than one-third of its total revenue – from green products and solutions. In fiscal 2010, which ended on September 30, 2010, revenue totaled €76 billion and net income €4.1 billion. At the end of September 2010, Siemens had around 405,000 employees worldwide. Further information is available on the Internet at: www.siemens.com
About Siemens Ltd.:
Siemens Ltd., in which Siemens AG holds 55.18% of the capital, is the flagship listed company of Siemens AG in India. Siemens in India including Siemens Ltd. comprises 19 legal entities, is a leading provider of industry and infrastructure solutions with a business volume aggregating about Rs. 12,000 crore. It operates in the core business areas of Industry, Energy and Healthcare. It has nation-wide Sales and Service network, 21 manufacturing plants, a network of around 500 channel partners and employs about 17,500 people.
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