The Union Ministry of Forests and Environment, and climate Change has plans to build a wall of 31 lakh trees around the Capital to protect it from frequent dust storms that blow in from Rajasthan and choke Delhi.
According to a senior ministry official various agencies of the Union and Delhi governments have already started the process of planting nearly 31 lakh saplings of various native species on its three sides..
This green barrier will come up all along Delhi's border with the surrounding states of Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. This will also encompass the Aravali and the Yamuna forest areas. The scheme has two objectives, he said; absorption of pollution-causing particulate matters by trees and shielding Delhi from the choking dust storms, coming in from Rajasthan due to western disturbances every year.
Based on scientific studies, sufficiently tall and dense trees like 'pilkhan, goolar, mango, mahua and other native species have chosen for this scheme. These trees prevent the dust particle from rising due to low atmospheric pressure and stop them from condensing a few meters above the ground. Also included in this scheme are the tress of 'pepul, neem, banyan, berry, amla (Indian gooseberry), jamun, amltash, harre, bahera' and other trees which release oxygen. Of all these, the pepul which releases oxygen round the clock, would be the highest chunk to be planted in the scheme.
Minute dust particles and other pollutants of the air easily get deposited on the leaves of ever green trees and are eventually washed down to the ground and mix up with soil during rain.
This scheme may prove to be an effective and permanent solution to the problem of air pollution, the official said. The Forest Department of Delhi government is all set to complete this scheme within two years, said another senior official. The scheme has already been formally launched on July 7.
The authorities involved in implementing the scheme in areas the Delhi Development Authority, the Central Public Works Department, the Delhi Metro, the Northern Railway, the Public Works Department of the Delhi government besides, the Forest Department and various municipal councils and corporations of of Delhi.
All these agencies together would plant nearly 21 lakh native tress and another ten lakh bushy ones like those of 'kaner, gurhal, bahuniya, chandni etc' during a two-month tree-plantation drive during ‘Van Mahotsav’ from July 15 to September 15.
The DDA would plant the maximum number of tress, followed by the Forest Department (4.22 lakh), the three municipal corporation of Delhi (4 lakh), NDMC (3 lakh) and CPWD (35,000). After planting the saplings, all these agencies would also nurture them for two years after which an independent agency would conduct a 'survival audit' to examine the survival rate of the trees and take remedial actions.
The process of survival audit has been proposed to be conducted from March 2019 by the Forest Research Institute, Dehra Dun, which would submit its report by March 2020. (UNI)