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Carbon neutral town Meenangadi, Kerala -It's happening in India

December 2019

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Small Steps can bring about a change in the environment around you. This is being demonstrated by a small town of Kerala. Meenangadi in Wayanad District is the first carbon neutral town in Kerala, India. People of Meenangadi brought these changes by small steps. Local government started the journey in June 2016 with an ambitious goal that is - to bring the town's net carbon footprint down to zero.

It is a collective effort of people from all walks of life such as students, scientists, farmers and people's representatives to ensure the project to be completed successfully by 2020. People have taken eco friendly steps by conduct of a soil audit, plant population census, energy audit etc. Town community also held campaigns to stop the usage of plastic bags.

Farmers have adopted organic methods. People have identified the areas that require more trees to offset the carbon emission. As a result the forest area will soon be expanding. Grama Panchayat of the town has decided to use solar power to minimize the dependence on conventional energy sources. They set up LED lamp manufacturing unit that can supply energy-efficient lights to all homes and other establishments.

In the current scenario, people across the World are debating and conducting conferences about the climate change. A small Indian town has already taken steps and is working towards that.

This idea of the project was conceived by the Finance Minister of Kerala, Thomas Issac in 2016. According to him, once Meenangadi achieves carbon neutrality, It will have significant impact on agriculture sector. The agricultural crops produced by the farmers including coffee, can be marketed with a carbon-neutral tag.

According to the President of the Grama Panchayat, Mr. Beena Vijayan, Meenangadi has become vegetable self-sufficient, as around 70 acres of land is now being used for cultivation. Vendors and people started using eco-friendly bags for vegetables, fish and other items. Vendors also educate and encourage customers for eco-friendly bags in place of plastic bags.

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.

"The 'Carbon Neutral Meenangadi Grama Panchayat' project envisions the reduction of human-induced carbon emission through people's lifestyle and sustainable development in this region," . Also the benefits of going carbon neutral, this project would promote agro forestry which would give farmers a source of income while nature would get a green cover."

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