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Meet The Wood Mafia Of Assam

Here is a story from Assam, on what is the impact of cutting trees on the land, animals, and the people who live there

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New Delhi: Assam is one of the richest biodiversity zones in the world, home to many rare plants and animal species, which is why it’s even more important to protect the forests here from exploitation. Wood mafia entered in Tarabari Village of Assam in 1970 and they encouraged local people there to cut down trees and do their trading but later villagers realized that by cutting down trees they having an adverse effects on their lands.

Also Read: The Resilient Women Of Sundarbans Are Fighting Back Cyclones By Planting Mangroves

Jermia Muchahary, a villager from Tarabari village, who was used by wood mafia realized that cutting down the trees was having a direct impact on agriculture in his village, and it was affecting the crops and villagers as well. Animals in the area were also affected.

While talking to NDTV Jermia Muchahary said that,

The climate has changed a great deal. The rainfall has reduced, the sun is stronger, it is hotter. And the moisture levels in the soil have also reduced. We used to leave our village of Tarabari, and go to Delhi and Mumbai to work as labour. But then, in 2020 during the COVID pandemic, we started our plantations. It has been a big boon for us, as we couldn’t leave the village for work during that time. Working here has been very beneficial for us.

Also Read: Aravali Biodiversity Park: A Nursery Of Ideas With Vijay Dhasmana

Jermia went from being a part of the timber mafia, to being someone passionate about re-planting trees. Not only is the plantation drive playing its part in keeping control on the climate, soil & crops, it is also creating employment for the villagers.

People in Tarabari village also started agroforestry there. Agroforestry is a system in which trees or shrubs are grown around or among crops. It has multiple benefits, such as greatly enhanced yields from staple food crops, it enhances farmer livelihoods from income generation. Now villagers are able to have a good crop yield as well as earn from agroforestry.

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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