Monday, December 28, 2009

Sustained drive needed to save city's greenery

Sustained drive needed to save city's greenery

Youth told to plant more trees in the city's outskirts for a better and healthier future

Bosky Khanna

It is important to plant trees in this 'garden city' as it is fast turning into a concrete jungle. The city is choking and there is no natural breeze. The situation is same elsewhere too. Noted environmentalist and leader of Chipko movement Sunderlal Bahuguna spoke to Bosky Khanna about the need for a sustained campaign to increase the city's green cover. According to him, the success of green campaigns depends on the will of the people and their active participation.

How green is this city?
Today I do not find many trees on the roadside. But I find a few plants on the terraces of apartments. The city is choking as the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere has reduced due to the absence of greenery. It is a pity that there is no natural breeze. It is time to start planting trees. People should at least plant trees in the city's outskirts on every occasion for a better and healthier future.

What do you have to say about the Gundiya project site in Sakleshpur, which you recently visited?
Forest is our natural wealth and cannot be exploited for the commercial needs of a few individuals. It is a natural reservoir. Big dams are a disaster to the state as they also occupy large tracts of forest land for storage. They are also temporary. Instead of constructing such destructive projects, natural dams, tree canopies around rivers, should be planted. They will increase water storage and result in better rainfall.
Since I am an outsider, I cannot do anything to stall the project. But if I were here, I would have started an 'andolan' (struggle). In Uttarakhand, through an eight-year 'andolan', orders have been mooted banning the cutting of trees. This can be done here too.

Although local residents tried to do a Chipko movement in Lal Bagh, a large number of trees were felled. How do you view this scenario?
This is the situation everywhere. Success depends on the will of the people. Unless they do something, nothing can be done. People have to get involved and do something if they have to save Bangalore's green cover. The act of hugging the trees for a while will not serve the purpose. It should be done day and night. Only then, we can save them from the axe. A sustained effort is required, along with dedication and determination which is lacking among the campaigners.

What advice would you like to give to the government and the people?
I am a worker and not an advisor. All I can say is that it is important to plant more trees in and around the city. It is equally important to protect them. Trees are vital to our survival. People should plant fruit-bearing and nut trees. Trees give oxygen (which is dimishing in Bangalore), absorb carbon dioxide (which is increasing in Bangalore), give fodder, fertilizer, food, shelter and life. Protection of the existing tree cover is also essential.

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