Monday, 21 May 2018 | PNS | Haridwar–
Increasing industrialisation and rise in other human activities is threatening the wealth of medicinal herbs once commonly found in Haridwar and other parts of the State.
The Haridwar region is rich in plant diversity.
The commonly found plants in the Rajaji national park which covers a major part of the district are fast becoming endangered species. The forest was full of Desmodium commonly called as telegraph plant or dancing grass, Neel plant and Jal Brahmi but these are rarely seen now. Not only are the medicinal herbs of the region facing extinction, the adverse effects are marked with repeated landslides causing threat to the residential colonies in the region.
Talking to this correspondent, environment activist Vinod Upadhyay said, “While wandering in the Mansadevi hills, large number of species of Pueraria, Tinospora (Giloy) , Randia (Madan phal used as emetic), Centella (Manduk), Boswellia (Salai Guggal), Solanum indicum (Badi kantakari) were easily spotted. In 1972 I had spotted Neel plant and telegraph plant with my teacher IS Jaitley but there is not a single plant visible now. They are almost waning from our bio-diversity.”
Big chunks of precious soil are getting eroded year by year due to heavy rains and loss of green cover. Every rainy season, the municipal corporation task force is engaged in removing the silt and mud which accumulates near Kangra temple ghat, Moti bazaar and Bilkeshwar colonies costing a considerable amount of money. This problem needs to be addressed urgently before it becomes a hazard as in the case of Varunavat mountain in Uttarkashi, say the experts. Factors like global warming and increased human activity are stated to be some of the reasons responsible for the depleting floral diversity. “Van Gujjars are a major threat to the ecosystem. They are punishing rather than protecting the forest,” opined Upadhyay. They must be taught to use the forest resources more wisely and scientifically, he added.
Increasing population, trampling in Mansa and Chandi Devi hills, extraction and uprooting of thousands of plants for fuel, furniture, herbal products and other commercial uses has put the biodiversity of the district in danger.
Experts opine that various measures should be taken to replenish the depleting green cover and diversity. The native plants which have been growing here for centuries should be replanted. Trees like Boswellia for aromatic gum and Buchanania (Chirongi) need to be planted to boost green cover and business selling their parts. One should avoild plantation os plants used for their roots like Asparagus, Amorphophallus. Further, responsible tourism practices should be encouraged while the banon polythene and disposables should be enforced stringently. Mining must be carried out only in scientific manner without disturbing the environment. Plantation of herbs must be done in the same ratio as their extraction.
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