Save environment: An appeal to the people of Delhi

Several Indian scientists, environmentalists, nature lovers, nature wild life photographers and the social workers have given many suggestions to combat the menace of environmental pollution.

By Dr. Chander Shekhar Singh

The exploitation of vegetation by human beings has history dating back to the remote past. With increasing population of humans, the pressure on the vegetation has also increased beyond all conceivable proportions. Humans have not only destroyed the natural communities, but also disturbed the environment by polluting the whole ecosystem.

Further, the extravagant wastage of natural resources – natural communities and their environments, particularly the soil, vegetation, etc. have created a serious situation. The problem is as to what will happen to our future generation if the natural resources are going to be destroyed or consumed at this rapid pace.

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In several states of India, the attention is now being paid to protect the natural resources by not harming them and to devise ecological ways and means to use the natural resources to the fullest extent without in anyway diminishing their continued availability for future needs. The natural resources can be rebuilt or maintained at present level if we understand and apply the ecological principles and restrict our activities to the limits to known biological laws. The ecological knowledge is for human welfare which can be studied on the basis of awareness regarding :-

  1. Conservation of soil, water and wild life etc.,
  2. Agriculture,
  3. Gardening,
  4. Plantation etc.

Delhi state is situated along the river Yamuna. The climate of Delhi is periodic. The three distinct seasons are :-

  1. A dry and extremely hot season from March to June
  2. A rainy season from July to September
  3.  A dry and cold winter from October to February.

The west winds are dry and hot in summer, the north-west winds are dry and cold in winter and easterlies bring humidity, cloudiness and rains in the rainy season. The rainfall is low. This alternation of temperature extremes is not favourable for the growth of luxuriant vegetation. Considerable biotic interference coupled with cutting and destruction of trees or plants have modified the original vegetation and the growth of the trees in Delhi. The increasing danger of environmental destruction by exploiting the vegetation has now been realised by several NGOs, environmentalists, etc. At Delhi University, many teachers, students and university non-teaching staff members are working on the same.

Among NGOs, Eco Care Centre, a registered organization (registered in May 1997) worked with full power to enforce effective measures to protect trees in the campus area at various levels. Chair person of the centre Dr. Ashok Jain along with me and many members of Eco Care Centre traced many sources of air-borne wastes, liquid and solid wastes of in and around Delhi University especially the north campus area.

Dr Ashok Jain organized several long marches which included removing the holdings from the trees, removing the plastic bags from the roads etc. in the North Campus area of Delhi University along with many researchers (I as a research student activist and environmentalist was also a part of many activities organized by the same NGO after 2000), teachers, Delhi University Workers, Non teaching staff members and Gardeners, in the beginning of 21st century (i.e. 2000-2006). Due to the lacking of the funds we had to stop further big budget activities after 2007; however the organization/centre is still active. We raised certain significant environmental issues regarding protecting tree trunks from big nails, holdings, removing plastic bags from the road sides of campus area.

Eco Care Centre started a procession from Vivekanand statue in the North campus, Delhi University in the morning (05.06.1999) for cleaning the campus. A small delegation of the centre was given permission to enter Vidhan Sabha with a memorandum. 

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Chief Minister of Delhi and Vice Chancellor of Delhi University participated in the campaigning organized by the centre in 2000.

We started the campaigning for tree plantation at large scale on the environment day in 2005. Many teachers including me, research scholars, reputed personalities, gardeners and several staff members of the University of Delhi planted different species of trees in the North Campus area of Delhi University.

We appeal to the people of Delhi

It is a natural fact that no human being can survive without oxygen. Oxygen is provided to us by nature through trees free of cost. We all should realize the importance of tree and their protection. We all should be careful that trees should not be nailed for using them as advertisement pillars. A tree has a life like us.

Nailing a tree is similar to crucify them by human beings. Covering the tree trunks with advertisement holdings or boards not only disfigure the trees but also reduces their life span to half. When we nail trees we destroy their living tissues and life supporting chemicals that can also develop different infections in the tree trunks. This kind of nailing the tree has already killed many 50- 200 old trees in and around Delhi area. This results in enhanced pollution level, increased temperature, less soil moisture and decreased O2 level in Delhi.

Plastic and synthetic goods are modern group of materials having being commonly used for more than 60 years. The generic term ‘Plastic’ refers to wide range modern products and indeed does not limit itself to the polymer, but also includes formulations, composites and co-polymers. In case plastic undergoes complete chemical degradation, the bulk of the ultimate end products (CO2, HO2, CH4) will of course contribute to the greenhouse effect.

Today’s typical plastics are manufactured from scarce fossil fuel resources in an energy-intensive fashion, often producing significant amounts of pollution as a by-product. For these reasons we all should avoid plastic products.

At my institution, Rajdhani College, when I was given the responsibility as a convener of the committee on Environment and related Issues, the committee organized a Webinar- EIA Draft on 24th August, 2020.  Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEF&CC) released a new draft – Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) 2020 on March 12, 2020. EIA is a legal framework for regulating activities that access, utilize and pollute natural resources. Prof. Rajesh Giri (Principal of the College), Prof. Pankaj Garg , Ms. Sana, Dr. Tapasya and all the members of the organizing committee gave their full support in organizing the Webinar. 

The increasing danger of environmental pollution has now been taken seriously into consideration by the governments of almost all the countries so the government of India. Now several organizations, academic or non-academic institutions, NGOs, nature lovers discuss about this issue in great details openly by organizing the seminars, conferences, talks, lectures, social meetings etc. in India for the awareness.

Several Indian scientists, environmentalists, nature lovers, nature wild life photographers and the social workers have given many suggestions to combat the menace of environmental pollution. This is our duty to identify the causes of pollution, to arrange certain awareness programs and also to find out the neutralizers or the adequate solutions for every pollutant.

It has been rightly said that “in the course of our progress from one age to another we as human beings have simply passed from a sav-age to sew-age.” So, if we can take this small step to save our environment, we appeal to the people of Delhi as well as other parts of the world to campaign for tree plantation at large scale.

Contributing Author: Dr. Chander Shekhar Singh is currently an Associate Professor and teacher In-Charge at Department of Linguistics at Rajdhani College, University of Delhi, New Delhi, India. He has to his credit four authored books in Linguistics and one edited book on environmental studies. He has also participated in many campaign programs related to environment awareness issues.

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