On June 5, the world celebrated the World Environment Day which was hosted by India this time. At least on that day, people were very concerned about the environment around them. However as the tradition goes, with the end of the day the love and care towards environment also fades away.
The host of this year’s World Environment Day, our beloved country India is the same country which has 14 out of the world’s 15 most polluted cities, according to the WHO global air pollution database. And the capital of India is one of them.
Every year, Delhi’s air is going to worsen due to multiple factors. To fight this pollution, one thing we need is trees or I should say forests. A forest follows a three-tier system to curb the pollution problem. Trees absorb most of the pollution, the remaining pollution is absorbed by shrubs and if still something is left then herbs do their part. We have to understand that the time is gone when we say that we need trees, as now the time has come when we should say that we need forests.
So at the time when we need so many trees, if we cannot plant them then at least it is our moral duty to preserve the existing trees. However, recently Delhi’s forest department, according to this article, cleared the National Buildings Construction Corporation Ltd. (NBCC’s) proposal to fell 3,748 fully grown and healthy mango, neem, banyan, pilkhan, guava etc species of trees at Netaji Nagar and Nauroji Nagar. All the trees mentioned are the native trees of India which support Indian biodiversity.
The forest department notification says that afforestation of 39,550 saplings will be done, but the question arises – how many of them will survive? Saplings cannot compensate the loss of trees as they curb the maximum pollution rather than saplings which will take years to become trees and as per the current pollution levels in Delhi I don’t think so we have that much time. There is another twist in the game that most of these compensatory plantations usually end up by growing ornamental palms and shrubs instead of native trees like peepal, neem, banyan, mango etc. This not only disturbs the three-tier system but also ends up damaging the ecological balance of nature as such ornamental plants never sustain the native bird and insect population.
We have to understand that such damage to the environment will soon reach humans and will destroy everything. There is a balance of everything in nature and human is continuously disturbing it. We have to understand that the success of human life is in a balanced co-existence with all creatures on the earth.
What we as an individual can do is to start planting cluster of native trees and try to stop such felling of trees up to the maximum extent that we can do, otherwise, nothing will be left! There are a few Delhi based groups like We Mean To Clean, Give Me Trees etc who are trying to achieve all this and hope they will bring about a real change.