Open house: Isn’t it necessary for the govt to stop cutting of trees to reduce climatic extremes like heat wave? : The Tribune India

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Open house: Isn’t it necessary for the govt to stop cutting of trees to reduce climatic extremes like heat wave?

Ensure sustainable development, retain harmony with nature

Open house: Isn’t it necessary for the govt to stop cutting of trees to reduce climatic extremes like heat wave?

Unplanned felling of trees can cause more problems rather than solving them, resulting in occurrence of natural disasters.

Stop indiscriminate felling of trees

Trees give us all necessities of life. They also purify the air. Humans and trees need each other in order to survive because living beings need oxygen and trees need carbon dioxide. But the question is as to why the government needs to cut trees for widening of roads as small roads would reduce the speed of vehicles and save lives caused by accidents. On highways, more than 90 per cent accidents happen due to vehicles travelling at high speed. In my opinion, stop the cutting of trees where it is not required and start a plantation drive instead. For every tree cut, two or more trees should be planted. Trees also help to cool the environment. Thus, we all need to keep an eye on this problem and must undertake the replanting of trees as soon as possible.

Kirandeep Kaur Waraich

Grow more trees, save environment

The government cuts down trees to make new roads, highways and public sector units every year. Moreover, people also cut down trees blindly. Cutting down trees means decreasing the oxygen level in the atmosphere and increasing global warming. As a result, we are facing searing heat because of climatic factors. For making new roads, highways and setting up industries, the government should select a place without trees if the forest\tree area is being covered for construction. The government should also grow more trees in advance before cutting them. The state government can grow trees on the sides of roads and the corners of canals. Cutting trees must be punishable from the government's point of view. Moreover, if any person cuts down trees at home or in the fields, permission from the court should be taken. Non-government organisations (NGOs) should also come forward to save the environment, like the Chipko Movement. It is the moral duty of everyone to save trees and grow more trees.

Sucha Singh Sagar

Govt should practice what it teaches

The government certainly needs to put an end to the shrinking forest cover. All schools impart education to their students not to cut trees. Rather, we should plant more trees everywhere. This instruction is imparted on the basis of guidelines issued by the Education Department. So, it is the duty of the government to practice what it preaches by implementing it practically too. Development works are essential but these should not be carried out at the cost of environment. Already many trees have been axed to make new roads. As greenery in cities has been eroded, heat wave conditions have increased. The government should take a pledge not to axe trees in future. Instead, it should plant more trees everywhere to increase greenery to reduce extreme weather conditions. At the same time, it should also encourage more tree plantation by giving monetary rewards to those who voluntarily indulge in such activities.

Sanjay Chawla

Old trees are not occupied space

The importance of trees in our lives cannot be overestimated, although the general impression is limited to the view that they provide us with the much needed timber required for our homes and furniture. Oxygen apart, their benefits can be limited only by our imagination. Some realisation has dawned among us that if there were no trees on the planet, mankind would not survive for long. But the recklessness with which they are still being felled in Punjab, can be estimated from the fact that regular tenders for an annual contract are still floated, though technically the law forbids the cutting of any tree. Such contracts fuel our crematoriums where no one puts paid to the gas or electricity-run machines. There are some NGOs that have planted thousands of trees around Amritsar, but you hardly see any fully grown ones because there is no emphasis on nurturing them. A sapling doesn't become a tree overnight. The fate of the surviving old banyan or peepal trees in the city is also uncertain. In fact, they are not appreciated as objects of beauty in the cityscape, but 'an occupied space' to be somehow encroached upon. It is useless to cry over spilt milk, but the PWD should not have felled the century-old peepal trees that lined the Court road when NGOs like AVM were protesting against the move. Though it won't solve the problem, we should protect fully grown oak, peepal, banyan and other trees from rats. Protecting trees would be the best form of worship.

Prof Mohan Singh

Trees essential for saving environment

Global warming and environmental disturbance are more or less the work of our so-called intelligent and educated society. Searing heat, depleting water table and air pollution are the result of mindless felling of trees and brutal cutting of forest land. Because of the urge for urbanisation and revitalising infrastructure to attain modernity, we have in fact done a big harm to our present and coming generations by reckless exploitation of natural resources. Each year, thousands of trees are being cut to pave way for new enterprises, expansion of existing or developing new projects and highway roads, without planting new saplings in their place. Consequently, forest cover is shrinking, whereby an unprecedented surge in temperature and scant rainfall is noticed. Recently, Delhi temperature recorded 52 degree Celsius on May 30. It might have been an instrumental error but the ongoing water crisis in the metropolis is a writing on the wall. Ironically, ozone layer is depleting fast and the ordeal of global warming is taking place all across the world. The survival of human race is on stake for which everyone should be concerned about. As the world faces increasing environmental challenges, planting trees has emerged as one of the most effective and accessible ways to combat climate change through carbon sequestration, improving air quality and foster biodiversity. A vigorous afforestation drive on a war footing needs to be launched by the government during the forthcoming rainy season to save mankind and living organisms from such disasters. Interestingly, a video regarding throwing of plant seedlings through blackballs concept to increase forest cover in Kenya is being circulated on the social media. Looking at the conditions here, why a massive initiative on similar lines should not be undertaken across our remote areas? Rather, each one of us has to proactively contribute to saving nature by ensuring that forest cover does not shrink further. According priority, the Department of Forests has to take an immediate call in this direction involving public at all levels to plant more trees, lest it will be too late to safeguard the environment.

Nirmaljit Singh Chatrath

Sanction buildings but protect trees

The goal of a developed country and infrastructure development always paves the way for decline of fertile agricultural land and axing of trees in large numbers. Whenever urban townships are developed, the fertile agricultural land declines. Similarly, extending of the national highways, expressways from two lanes to four, six and eight lanes causes felling of millions of trees. If one tree is axed to carry out infrastructure development, new saplings should also be planted and nursed for a few years till they become trees. The social and government organisations every year celebrate Vanmohatsav with great pomp and show. They plant saplings in large numbers but due to lack of care, most of the new saplings are ruined. Ways to plant the trees and nurse them should be known to the common man. I fully agree with BJP National Executive member and former Punjab minister Manoranjan Kalia's views that we should come forward and plant fruit saplings. He advocates that the fruit sapling when it becomes a tree will provide food and shelter to birds and insects. The felling of trees and shrinking of forests and hilly areas being converted into concrete jungles positively paves the way for ecological imbalance. Due to factors like strides made in manufacturing of vehicles and air-conditioners, reducing of tree cover, population explosion, global warming and climate change are responsible for the heat wave and rising of mercury. The masses now understand the positive concept of trees and forests. The Union Government and the State Government should be strict on plantation of new saplings and on how to nurse it. It is time to plant saplings of trees like peepal which release oxygen. Most plants and trees absorb carbon dioxide during the day and release oxygen at night. The Union and State Government should be strict on felling of trees and only clear the layout plans of buildings until and unless they certify the plantation of new saplings before starting the construction of their respective buildings.

Rajat Kumar Mohindru

Put moratorium on cutting of trees

Given the present scenario of severe heat wave in the region and visible impact of adverse climate change in the country, the government needs to awaken from deep slumber not only to salvage the situation but also to adopt a comprehensive strategy to combat the lurking disasters challenging the very survival of life. One of the major reasons for such a catastrophic situation is the continuing dwindling of forest cover all over the country. It is alarming that the total forest cover is 21.71% of geographical area of the country as against minimum requirement of 33%. In Punjab, the situation is more alarming as it has only less than 4% as forest cover. Since the beginning of decade, about one crore trees have been uprooted to pave the way for so-called infrastructural development in the country, leaving an average of 28 trees per person as against the world average of 420 trees. It is, therefore, utmost necessary that more trees are planted under a vigorous national plan with zero tolerance towards cutting even a single tree. There should be a three-year moratorium on undertaking those projects involving cutting of any tree. In those projects, where cutting of trees is inevitable, ten times more trees should be planted before initiating the process after a lapse of minimum period of three years.

Jagdish Chander

Urbanisation harms planet earth

The air quality has formidably decreased as humans have taken a toll on the environment by cutting trees. Urbanisation is harming the earth in the name of development. The government immediately needs to stop this. The administration should take an account of trees cut by different, industries and even their own departments and compensate it with an equal number of trees planted. The world has 250 trees per person, but India only has 27 trees per person which is alarming. People should be made more aware about this. We should always plant more and more trees and save ourselves from the scorching heat. Even while initiating development works, environmental factors cannot be under-estimated.

Lakshit Jindal

Question for next week

Underage drivers not only put their lives at risk but also that of others. They can also be often seen driving rashly on city roads. What needs to be done to ensure that underage driving is discouraged?

Suggestions in not more than 200 words can be sent to [email protected] by Thursday (June 27)

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