‘Delhi Trees SOS’ springs up as Delhi set to lose around 16,500 trees

The polluted capital city will soon lose around 16,500 trees, which will be chopped down to make way for construction for accommodation for Central government employees

Photo by K Asif/India Today Group/Getty Images
Photo by K Asif/India Today Group/Getty Images

Zaheeb Ajmal

There’s worrisome news for the national capital, already grappling with pollution woes. Around 16,500 trees in South Delhi will soon be chopped off to make way for construction for accommodation for Central government employees.

The areas where trees face the axe include Sarojini Nagar, Nauroji Nagar, Netaji Nagar, Thyagraj Nagar, Mohammadpur, Kasturba Nagar and Sriniwaspuri. According to environment impact assessment report for the projects around South Delhi, 11,000 trees will be chopped down in Sarojini Nagar alone.

The felling of trees has already begun and around 1,500 trees in Nauroji Nagar have been cut.

Environmental activist Prashant told National Herald that cutting full grown trees will be fatal for the polluted city. He says full grown trees cannot be substituted by planting saplings at different locations.

Rakesh Sinha, a resident of Sarojini Nagar said, “If I am residing in Sarojini Nagar area and the trees there are cut, how will planting saplings in Wazirabad help me? These saplings will take years to provide the benefit that full-grown trees were giving”

Now campaigns have sprung up to protect Delhi’s trees. A Facebook campaign ‘Delhi Trees SOS’ has been launched by citizens of Delhi. Juhi Saklani, a member of the campaign while talking to NH said “Chopping trees in large numbers will be a great loss to Delhi's green cover. According to the Forest Ministry, 10 saplings should be planted in place of every tree cut but there is no one to monitor this. There is also no clear direction where the saplings will be planted.”

“We are consulting experts to file a legal petition. We dont want to rush and be fully prepared before we go before the court. It is more important that people of the city should come forward, they should know that what is being taken away from them and their children. Through our campaign, we are asking people to write letters/email/tweets to forest ministry, ministry of urban development and other concerned authorities,” said Juhi.

Similar campaigns have been initiated by Jhatkaa.org in collaboration with act.airalert.in. They have collected 6,689 out of a target of 7,000 signatures.

Rakesh Sinha, a resident of Sarojini Nagar said, “If I am residing in Sarojini Nagar area and the trees there are cut, how will planting saplings in Wazirabad help me? These saplings will take years to provide the benefit that full-grown trees were giving”

“The pollution in Delhi is at an all time high and it has reported worst air quality, even then permission has been given to chop trees. I don’t know what will be the condition of Delhi when my one year old will grow up. The sapling which they will plant now will benefit my son after he gets asthma,” said Satyam Kumar Sinha, a resident of Thyagaraj Nagar.

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