Automobile Dependency in Port Louis
Congestion in the city of Port Louis is mainly contributed by the many vehicles that get in and out through the busy traffic routes. When traffic jams occur in the city, it hinders movement of people and commodities. Immediate negative impacts of this are as a result of air pollution from waste gas emissions from car exhaust systems and noise pollution from tooting vehicles. The waste of time and delay of transport stalls the economy.
Urbanization raises per capita incomes, and richer people consume more fossil fuels, urban growth, and Green House Gas emissions are therefore directly linked. There is no global price on carbon, polluters mainly vehicle owners face little incentive to economize on emissions. There are other many other damaging effects of car dependence on cities that manifest over an extended period. For instance, the carbon footprint that increases tremendously over a few decades could result in respiratory health complications in city dwellers. The rise of stress levels among city dwellers has also been linked to automobile dependence because of the frustration caused by the difficulty to move.
Recommendations for Reducing Automobile Dependence
Car dependence can be addressed through better infrastructure. This entails widening roads to accommodate more vehicles and supplementing road networks with fast speed trains and rail systems. Vehicles on the road could also be reduced through an effective economic policy. For example, raising taxes on car importation in Mauritius and raising fees on car parking slots in Port Louis would ensure that fewer vehicles get into the country and even fewer get into the city.
The transport system is an aspect of spatial planning. The degree of accessibility of facilities is conditioned by distances and by either public transport connections, or the form of private transportation that is available. Congestion in the city of Port Louis would have to be reduced by constructing roads at the periphery of the CBD fed with crisscrossing footpaths and pedestrian walkways that could only accommodate people and two-wheel vehicles. The mode of walking is useful for short distances in densely populated areas as opposed to vehicles.
Urban Heat Island Effect in Port Louis
The rise in temperature that results from built environment in cities is known as Urban Heat Island Effect. Urban Heat Islands (UHI) occur due to artificial land cover. The surfaces of buildings, roads, and other concrete structures in urban areas absorb a lot of solar radiation. Heat is reserved during the day and released during the night. Due to this, cities like Port Louis experience relatively higher temperatures as compared to surrounding rural areas. Data of average monthly and daily temperatures is usually high, as illustrated by the charts below;
Daily mean UHI trend, Port Louis
Source: University of Mauritius Research Journal
The high-rise buildings in the city obstruct wind and trap heat in their corridors. The fall in UHI for days such as Thursdays is due to the reduced commercial activity in the afternoon in Port Louis. Less commotion means fewer objects and ample space for heat to escape. The highest UHI on a single day was observed at 5.8°C in winter. Temperatures are significantly higher at night. UHI of 1.9°C per month in Port Louis is observed, with the highest monthly average in August with a value of 3.4°C, and lowest in April with a value of 1.3°C.
Source: University of Mauritius Research Journal
How to counter Urban Heat Island Effect
There are three primary ways of reducing heat in urban areas. First, air conditioning should be limited to lower floors of buildings where they are necessary. Reducing air conditioning also reduces mechanical heat release. Roof designs should be made with special cooling effects such as with photovoltaic canopies or reflective surfaces. This ensures that they absorb heat and cool it or reflect it back into the air instead of storing it. Secondly, city planners should advocate for natural ventilation through open windows where necessary. The free flow of air into and out of buildings dissipates stored heat and in effect cools them. The third method would be to plant and vegetation such as short grass and trees on patches of land in the city in the form of parks. Vegetation zones have a high evaporation rate of about 300% as compared to their artificial surroundings this functions to control temperature by enabling heat to escape into the atmosphere.
Water and Waste Management Systems
The demand for water in Mauritius is currently at 4.5 billion m3 (BCM) with Port Louis leading in consumption. Most of this demand is addressed by underground water, which caters for about 72% of the demand. The other 21% is dealt with by desalinated water while retreated water covers the rest (7%).
The consumption of water in Port Louis mainly includes household consumption, office consumption, and industrial use. Office consumption is mainly contributed by the use of coolers to reduce the high temperatures. The air conditioners consume a lot of water through chilled water pumps. Drainage of used water and sewerages is achieved through underground sewers and drainage channels next to the roads. They direct the waste into treatment plants where water is treated for reuse and treated for reuse and sterile solid waste dumped into the Indian Ocean.
Improvement of water and waste Management Systems
To improve the efficiency of the city more waste management plants would have to be built on the outskirts to recover more water and convert waste into usable resources. For instance, plastic bags, metal tins, and waste paper could be recycled into second degree finished goods instead of burning or discarding. Plant, human and animal waste could be used to make fertiliser for food crop supply zone that feeds the occupants of the city.
Significance of the Study
This study would be useful for scholars and the professionals in the economic development process in Mauritius because of its specific focus on the sustainable development. Some of the insights provided in this research paper are of great benefit to policymakers in the local and national levels of governance. The study aims at analysing existing literature about sustainable cities and incorporates the same into the urban design and planning of Port Louis. The study will highlight the long-term benefits of constructing a sustainable urban environment to give industries and societies the incentive to forge a sustainable future.
Limitations of the study
One key limitation of this report is bias. Some of the information that the paper will use will be derived from the sources generated by government agencies in Mauritius. Such information is unlikely to be neutral as every government seeks to boost its development image for purposes of public opinion.
Sustainability case studies conducted in other cities may not necessarily be relevant to the cultural, political and economic environment of Port Louis. Therefore, it may be difficult or unrealistic to implement then. For instance, leading sustainable cities have substantial financial resources that can be used to develop expensive stainable systems which may not be the case in Mauritius.
This study is based on a descriptive case study research. Case studies of sustainable cities would be paraded, and proven aspects of sustainability that are relevant and compatible to Port Louis would be extracted. Analysis of weather and climatic patterns would be made and statistical data obtained from secondary sources. Interviews would be conducted on professionals that have worked to design sustainable systems to derive insight on sustainable city planning. Among them include; urban planners, biosystems engineers and civil engineers and architects. Finally building and land surveys would be done to document the use of the city and find out how space could be optimized for sustainability.
The steady population growth everywhere around the world is strangling the available natural resources. We, therefore, have to make the environment sustainable enough to cater for scarcity. Creating sustainable cities would reduce water and energy consumption worldwide. It would cut down solid and waste gas emissions. All these would, in turn, boost the economy enabling social and political systems to thrive.
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