By Brij Khandelwal
Agra, June 9 (IANS) 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. “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,” activist Ranjan Sharma added.
Sapna Arora, director of Shri Radha Brij Vasundhra in Goverdhan though proclaimed that saving environment through green efforts is equivalent to saving human lives.
“Saving environment should be equated with saving life on this planet. Environment conservation is 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.
“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. 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,” Rashmi Sharma, local in-charge of the project told IANS.