Delegates from the BRICS countries have unanimously adopted the ‘zero waste’ approach to water and sanitation management.
This was the outcome of the three-day third BRICS Urbanisation Forum that concluded here on Friday.
Delivering the valedictory address, Union Minister of State for Urban Development Rao Inderjit Singh said that Andhra Pradesh was right in coming forward to host the three-day summit. “It is a Sunrise State with a number of challenges, and it appears quite a few ideas have come to the fore at the summit,” he said.
Mr. Inderjit Singh pointed out that BRICS was a unique group and the countries should extend their cooperation in the development of other countries in the group.
“Building smart cities is not just about infrastructure creation. It has many ingredients such as a pro-active society, environment, healthy habitation and lifestyle, and inclusiveness,” he observed. In his address, P. Narayana, Minister for Urban Development, Government of Andhra Pradesh, said that urbanisation should be viewed positively. “Urbanisation creates jobs and infrastructure. And we are already lagging behind. For rapid urbanisation, we need to do urban planning and urban governing. The Brazilian model is good and we are already thinking of implementing it,” he said.
Experts from China showcased the city of Shenzen, where only 6 per cent of municipal solid waste was being dumped in the open.
Xu Hayun, Chief Engineer, China Construction Group, said that 2,10,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste was being recycled daily to generate 4,300 MW of power.
He said that waste-to-energy conversion had been substantially enhanced since 1988 when only 150 tonnes of waste was converted into power. He further said that 94 per cent of solid waste being generated in Chinese cities was being recycled.
B. Chandra Mohan, Revenue Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu, said that Chennai was a leading example of resilience in water management, being the first city in the country to set up a desalination plant enabling use of 200 million litres of sea water per day. Noting that only one per cent of readily usable water was available for humanity as 97 per cent of water being in the seas and another two per cent locked up in deep aquifers, N. A. Buthelegi of South Africa called for adoption of appropriate technologies and response mechanisms to meet the water needs of people.
She said that in South Africa, 15,000 water ambassadors were pressed into service to educate people about proper water use. South Africa’s Deputy Minister for Settlements Zou-Kota Fredericks, while expressing concern over the growing slums and informal settlements in urban areas, called for ensuring liveable and sustainable human settlements in urban areas. While Joint Secretary from the Ministry of Urban Development B. Anand summed up the three-day meet, Director, National Institute of Urban Affairs, Ministry of Urban Development, Jagan Shah, said that urban renaissance in India was based on the five pillars of empowering urban local bodies, citizen participation, capacity building of stakeholders, effective urban planning, and augmenting financial resources of cities and towns.