OPINION

Green Heads Left Few, Axes Ready To Slew

Green Heads Left Few, Axes Ready To Slew

Embracing the girth of the woody existents, clasping the brown black tree trunks with all their might, a string of protesters firmly stand opposing the ongoing tree cutting at the redevelopment sites falling inside the periphery of South Delhi. The confronting move put forth by the people had come up in wake of loss of about thousands of trees, which were being felled in order to facilitate the redevelopment plan in the areas of Nauroji Nagar and Netaji Nagar. “We don’t we a deserted Delhi”, “Ban tree felling in Delhi”, these are few of the slogans which are being voiced with the aim to be badgered onto the deaf ears residing on official statures as evidently it is the lack of incumbent attention and action that has shoved the capital into such environmental crisis. As per the legal status of the green battle, acknowledging the raised brows of the citizens and activists, the High Court had put a stay on the tree cutting order till July 4 and then came the final say by the Centre to shelve all plans which include clearing of the green cover and rectify their designs and layout plan. What had given a kickstart to this entire situation brimming with chaos and commotion, were the action of tree felling by NBCC (National Buildings Construction Corporation) as a part of the redevelopment at seven places in South Delhi and it was claimed that removal of the trees was inevitable as if not done so it might disrupt the path to future development which was ensured by the redevelopment of the listed areas, and also that NBCC had got the prior permission from the Delhi government. But in absolute contradiction to this, came the guidelines by NGT ( National Green Tribunal), as in September 2017 an order was passed by the Tribunal stating “ plants will be planted as a condition precedent to the cutting of trees” and this order was possibly being flouted by the organisations indulged in redevelopment drive.

Irony Hits Hard To Agony

 Literature bestowed us with a concept of ‘irony’, its purpose was to embellish the words but talking about world nowadays, irony in living is the reality now. This year, our country India, the fastest developing nation of the Asian subcontinent, was felicitated by being made the host for the World Environment Day 2018 with a virtue of spreading the word for love, care and concern for mother nature. But when we put together the tree felling drive and the virtue to pay reverence to nature, it sounds no less than an oxymoron. So, yes, with a tint of sarcasm, the work being done by the concerned authorities to keep up with Delhi’s environment is one to be applauded. NBCC states that they have given the compensatory amount to the government for the felled trees, apparently claiming they did their part of work with utmost efficacy. Is that actually we are going pay for the bestowed life we acquired from our nature or is it so simple to proudly reimburse for loss of thousands of trees with the aid of cash? And if that has become a widely accepted norm, then it has surpassed all levels of being lunatic and absurd. No amount of these earthly greed purchasing entities of cash, deals and assets can compensate for sponsored vandalization of ecology. Slewing of green cover in order to gift ourselves the gratification, strangulating the environment and hoping for breathing in solace pays for no logic and that is the peak of threat in today’s world. The human standards of logic and development are way too ‘inhumane’ and ‘insane’.

Talks being ‘seriously funny’

 

Politics is undoubtedly more in proportion in our ambience than the air itself. The political blame game was not deterred by an obstacle from entering into the vicinity of ecological issues also. Similar to a game of throwball, the burden of offence against the environment is being fiddled with by passing from the LG to the state, state to the centre and back and forth. And as an anticipated result, the massive environmental drive boiled down to a giant hoax amidst the appreciative political gimmicks. There is nothing to be dubious about how much concern is actually paid to environmental issues in the capital. It vindicates that reiterating actions, backlashing with comments and leading dharnas with full agility is how the authorities showcase their deftness. “The environment, after all, is where we all meet, where we all have a mutual interest. It is one thing that all of us share. It is not only a mirror of ourselves, but a focusing lens on what we can we become.”

These words by Lady Bird Johnson, former First Lady of the United States elucidate on how nature is a bower which can set all our qualms to peace and a place for human integration. It is not pessimistic, to state that the real environmental concerns get stampede in the foul play by authorities, fake concerns and illogical approaches.

Delhi Drowns In Dearth 

Delhi is presently in throes of environmental crisis. It is just not the deforestation demon haunting its present but also scarcity of water and increasing levels of pollution. Delhi is expected to be devoid of groundwater by the year 2030 and PM 2.5 and PM 11 pollution levels are increasing at an enormous rate, posing a threat to healthy breathing. And somewhere or the other all these environmental mayhems establish a connect with chopping off or apparent ‘pruning’ of the green cover. “One tree supplies oxygen to at least five people. There if 16,000 trees are cut, 80,000 people will be devoid of oxygen. A newly plant tree cannot compensate for a 40 year old tree. Buildings can be made 40km far too, instead of felling.” This was the reaction of Praveen Nayak, who runs an eco- friendly garbage clinic on the idea of compensatory afforestation as proposed and accepted by the organisations involved in redevelopment. As revealed earlier, the NBCC had to pay the compensatory amount and also ensure the afforestation in the areas of tree felling and as part of NGT’s order ten trees had to be planted for one axed. But in this case, the ideas of afforestation and transplantation falls flat on its face, as it is not possible for a new sapling to compensate the loss of a single full grown tree. Infact, in such situation the growth of those saplings are themselves put to threat. Moreover, transplantation is too no alternative as most trees don’t survive it. “Most trees cannot tolerate transplantation, particularly big, old trees. The success rate is extremely low,” says CR Babu, professor emeritus, Centre for Environmental Management of Degraded Ecosystems.

The capital’s per capita tree cover stands at an abysmal 0.002 hectare. The Forest Survey of India(FSI) puts Delhi’s per capita tree availability at 0.3, or less than one tree one person. And while forest and tree covers cannot be directly compared, Russia’s per capita forest cover of 5.58 ha, Brazil’s 2.37 ha and United States’0.96 ha are suggestive of these cities being in a better situation. An official of NBCC stated that redevelopment has been designed in an eco-friendly manner and also in the areas of redevelopment the green belts will be a sure shot portion. But one thing cannot be comprehended that how something which is boasted of being eco-friendly inside out, aims to stagger the roots and lead to natural hazards.

Shun Down Ecological Negligence 

Talks on environment, celebration of the World Environment Day, holding rallies, voicing opinions, verbally reiterating for the sake of superiority would later or sooner would be termed as something cliché, if the concerns don’t hit your head and heart both. Development is synonymous with inevitability and lack of it can drive human species at the brink of perishing. But, the factor of sustainability is not to be overlooked. No plan and strategies for development can be said to be eco-friendly until and unless it embarks a cordial approach towards the nature. Nature is not for sale, nor it can be bribed by any earthly or even heavenly means. Being inhabitants of this planet we are lucky to be bestowed with the gift of nature and our existence is adorned by its scent, which is irreplaceable. We cannot single headedly walk on path of development for future and turn a blind eye to the dead greens sacrificed for it. To give a thought it, it sounds extremely derogatory that we, humans, need movements, protests and agitated raised voice in order to uncurtain our brains so as to understand that we are, by no means supposed to harm the source of our breathe and existence. Nature is quiet, its soul brims with peace and solace. Testing on our environment’s temperament , is to be nullified from our deeds, as when once the soil started seeking revenge, it would be just one havoc and everything will get buried in its sink.