In a groundbreaking initiative to combat climate change and enhance the sustainability of cultural heritage, the Environment and Climate Change Department in Tamil Nadu has announced plans to appoint consultants for two revered places of worship. The iconic Meenakshi Amman temple in Madurai and the historic Velankanni church in Nagapattinam are set to be transformed into climate-resilient green monuments under the pioneering `Climate Resilient Green Temples/Monuments` project.

As part of the Tamil Nadu Climate Change Mission`s pilot project, the appointed consultants will prepare detailed project reports (DPR) focusing on various aspects to improve thermal comfort and assess environmental impacts.

Key aspects of the DPRs include a thorough study of heat emission in and around the temple and church premises, with the goal of recommending natural ventilation solutions. Hazard, risk, and vulnerability assessments will be conducted, and mitigation measures will be proposed to protect and enhance the green heritage sites.

The project`s comprehensive approach will encompass several sustainable strategies, such as implementing efficient solar lighting systems, optimizing water management practices, and adopting effective heat management techniques. Additionally, greening initiatives, eco-restoration of temple tanks, and measures to combat plastic and microplastic pollution will be incorporated to promote environmental conservation.

The initiative will also prioritize the improvement of the road network and street orientation surrounding the temple and church areas. This will involve the creation of bicycle tracks, provision for non-motorized vehicles, pedestrian-friendly facilities, and organized street vending zones based on crowd patterns and frequencies.

To reduce their carbon footprint, energy audits will be conducted, leading to recommendations for optimizing existing services at these cultural sites.

Solid waste management plans will be formulated, aiming to enhance efficiency in maintenance, identify reuse and recycling methodologies, and promote waste segregation practices.

Water conservation measures will be a key focus, with special emphasis on exploring the possibilities of recycling greywater for landscaping purposes and storing rainwater in nearby water bodies or constructed sumps for day-to-day operations of the temples and monuments.

By combining climate-resilient practices with rich cultural heritage, Tamil Nadu`s Meenakshi Amman temple and Velankanni church are poised to become pioneering models of sustainable development and environmental stewardship, setting an inspiring precedent for other heritage sites worldwide.

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