Agra: Come July-August the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department has announced planting of a record 1.02 crore saplings here to tackle a spike in the air pollution figures in the eco-sensitive Taj Trapezium Zone. Despite the state machineries continued focus on controlling the environmental apocalypse, and planting of several crore saplings last year, little has changed. Work on preparing planting sites has already begun. The target for Agra city is 28,57,000. Mainpuri, Firozabad, and Mathura will also plant lakhs of saplings, according to Forest Conservator Javed Akhtar. The Yogi Adityanath government’s target for this year is 22 crore. Last year, it was nine crore.
Green activists in the Taj city though wonder where would the space come from for the planting of so many saplings. “Last year we saw how hastily saplings were planted in a haphazard manner with no one responsible for maintenance and care. Only a small percentage survived,” said Shravan Kumar Singh.
Without proper care, they just remain mere paper trees, added, environmentalist Devashish Bhattacharya. Activist Ranjan Sharma added,
The real problem with such over-hyped campaigns is that these are not backed by adequate support services that can take care of the plants for three years at least.
Sapna Arora, director of Shri Radha Brij Vasundhra in Goverdhan though proclaimed that saving the environment through green efforts is equivalent to saving human lives.
“Saving environment should be equated with saving life on this planet. Environment conservation is the responsibility of each one of us and days like these remind us of our duties and responsibilities towards reducing pollution,” she told IANS after initiating a tree plantation drive on the Goverdhan Parikrama Marg.
In Mathura, a unique experiment launched by the Yamuna Mission has started yielding results. Rashmi Sharma, local in-charge of the project told IANS,
Utilising treated waste and sewer water from drains a sprawling green space along the Yamuna has been developed. Right from Kans Kila adjoining the famous Vishram Ghat, a green belt till the periphery of Vrindavan town is being gradually developed. The advantages are several. The dust has been controlled. The vast stretch of wasteland has been utilised. Drains are not opening into the river and new picnic spots have come up.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.