Govt plays an important role in destroying or conserving the biodiversity: activists
When one talks about protecting the environment, most appear concerned about the depletion of forests, greenery and biodiversity from rural or mountainous areas. However, such narrow focus leads to negligence twards environmental degradation in urban areas as seen in Dehradun since creation of Uttarakhand states. On the occasion of World Environment Day, The Pioneer talked to some environmentalists and activists about the past, present and future of urban greenery in Dehradun. In the last few years, Dehradun has lost a substantial amount of urban green space. According to environmentalists, the administration plays an important role in destroying as well as protecting and conserving the biodiversity. While some said that greenery should be incorporated in city planning, others opined that it should be prioritised rather than being adjusted in some plan. Himanshu Arora from Citizens For Green Doon (CFGD) said that the government has cut down thousands of trees in the name of development in the city. “I do not consider cutting trees for constructing buildings as development. True development is the coexistence of biodiversity with the development plans. In the name of development in Dehradun, the government had cut the flourishing orchards of litchi and mango, the fields of basmati rice have disappeared and the canals were covered,” said Arora.
According to experts, trees are the most important part of the biodiversity of any region. When trees are cut down from an area, the lives around it get disturbed and creatures like birds and insects like butterflies gradually cease to live in that area and that leads to their steady disappearance from the whole city. Activist Lokesh Ohri informs that the government has cut lakhs of trees in the last twenty years which affected several living creatures existing around them but the government had hardly planted even half the number of the trees it had cut. Some social activists and conservationists proposed that by increasing the greenery of the urban areas, the environment can be made much healthier for the citizens and for other living beings. Social activist Anoop Nautiyal stated that with the increasing urbanisation in the city, it is more important to prioritise the existence of biodiversity before the development projects by the administration and the citizens. He added that a city’s development should not be at the cost of its environment. To revive the urban greenery of Dehradun, Ohri suggested that the government should leave the space wherever it can for the plantation of trees instead of completely paving the roads that does not allow even the percolation of rainwater to the ground. He said that the government can issue some guidelines too so that citizens do not harm the biodiversity. Other activists also suggested that if the citizens are aware and dedicated to save their environment, the government will not have much power to recklessly cut the trees as per its will.
Saturday, 06 June 2020 | PNS | Dehradun
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