Thursday, June 2, 2016

CHOOSE BETWEEN SHORT TERM GAINS, GREEN CRISIS Monday, 11 April 2016 | RANJIT K SAHU | BHUBANESWAR | in Bhubaneswar

STATE EDITIONS
CHOOSE BETWEEN SHORT TERM GAINS, GREEN CRISIS
Monday, 11 April 2016 | RANJIT K SAHU | BHUBANESWAR | in Bhubaneswar
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While the development of Odisha is dependent on infrastructure, it is also important to conserve the environmental resources. Sadly, the present socioeconomic situation in the country and the shortsightedness of people involved in the affairs focused on immediate monetary benefits may lead to a permanent and irreparable damage.
As has been witnessed in many parts around Odisha, more importantly western Odisha, the increased temperatures during summer have been due to rapid deforestation. While the Government and private sectors would try to utilize opportunities of tree depletion to earn revenue or minimize the operational costs, the forest department due to a lack of will power, man power, and most importantly resources and imagination may not be in a state to propose or implement effective measures and alternate programmes by which such large scale loss of trees can be avoided or minimised.
Since past experience has shown that planting trees after deforestation for compensation of loss in forest areas is often a failure or partial success, almost always leading to an immediate loss of sustenance of livelihood to people directly dependent on them or to the ecosystem, alternate ways of saving the trees may be examined. It is important to note that native trees provide a vital support to the local ecosystem and mitigate weather extremities. Thus, if suitable areas can be identified in and around the place of proposed tree felling and these trees wholly or partially transplanted, it could prevent total loss of forest cover and also reduce the waiting time for the replacement trees which may take years to grow. This would also pave way for a new approach to saving forests. Trees need time to grow and money cannot replace time.
World over there is a rising concern about deforestation and increasing efforts to save forests. It would be a fallacy to not take note of such awareness and take corrective measures to limit the damage to the environment. An example in the large tracts of forests created in Israel through import of full grown trees. Furthermore, another is the recent initiative by the city of New York to plant ten million trees. New York City already has considerable green cover yet, the importance of having more trees is not lost on the public.
Under these type of global awareness, we believe it would be an unforgivable act and gross injustice to the local population if alternative ways to protect the trees are not employed and the protection of environment is not given a chance.
The forest department needs to be imaginative and take initiatives to save forests and green cover rather than just act as a transit system that passes paperwork from Government to construction firms. Would we rather have to pass on hectares of barren dead land to our future progeny as a proof of our incompetence to take care of the natural wealth of Odisha?


(This is in response to a news item published in The Pioneer on April 8 about the cutting down of trees for road construction)

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