The Delhi government has set a target to increase the city’s green cover from 22 percent at present to 25 percent in the next three years, officials said on Thursday.
Principal Conservator of Forests Ishwar Singh said, “According to our assessment, Delhi’s green cover can be increased to 25 percent of its total area of 1,484 sq km. It means 45 sq km of land is available with various departments in Delhi for afforestation purposes”.
“This is the maximum green cover achievable in the city. Thereafter, we will focus on a five-year plan to improve the quality of our forest cover which will improve its carbon sink capacity,” he added.
According to the India State of Forest Report (ISFR) report released in 2019, Delhi’s green cover, comprising forest and tree cover, is 324 sq km or 21.9% of the total area at present. It was 305.4 sq km or 20.6% in 2017.
The National Forest Policy aims at bringing a minimum of one-third of its total geographical area under green cover. The Forest Department has already asked the Delhi Development Authority and the development commissioner to create a “forest land bank” which can be utilized in the future for compensatory plantation.
“There will be no need to identify a new piece of land for compensatory afforestation every time a project comes up,” Singh said, adding most of the land needed is available on Yamuna floodplains.
However, many environmentalists have opposed using Yamuna floodplains for afforestation purposes, claiming any compensatory afforestation can result in an “avoidable alteration in the natural functions of the floodplains”.
On this, Ishwar Singh said that plantation exercises will be undertaken on the extended part of the floodwaters where river water does not reach often.
Based on the reports of livemint