Trees hold the key to healthy life
When looking at the whole gamut of environmental issue, the perspective alters from that of a world resplendent with hope to that of despondency. So long as the kaleidoscope focuses on everything within, tranquillity prevails but as one sees the scenario outside a sense of helplessness sets in.
For all responsible citizens who are contributing to the protection of our national resources, fundamental duties have been introduced by the 42nd Amendment to protect the flora, fauna earth and its resources. Act 51-A enjoins the citizens to protect and improve the natural environment including forest, lakes, wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures. However, the commitment towards discharging them needs a lot more compassion.
As one travels from Haldwani towards Delhi, colour of the sky loses its bluish tinge and envelops a thick pale coloured layer of dust and smog. NCR region has earned the dubious distinction of being among the most polluted territories and the reason is not difficult to understand. Reckless construction by builders has been going on without any concern for the environmental laws or the basic precautions which need to be taken up for dust control causing major air pollution.
As per NGT orders OA No 21 and OA No 95 of 2014- Vardhan Kamlesh Vs Union of India & others dealing with the pollution, the construction material has to be covered by tarpaulin and all other measures have to be taken to ensure that no dust particles are permitted to pollute air quality as a result of this storage.
It has been recommended to put tarpaulin on the scaffolding around the area of construction and building to raise wind breakers of appropriate height on all sides of the plot so that no dust material pollutes outside the plot area and it will be the builder or contractor’s responsibility to ensure that the process does not cause any air pollution.
Compulsory use of wetjet in grinding and stone cutting, a 30 m belt of trees to absorb dust emissions has been suggested and the builder has to ensure a green belt around the project before growing occupancy. Fabrics, plastics for covering piles of soil and dust have to be used to reduce the free flow of dust in the air. But in NCR region, especially Ghaziabad, Noida no such major efforts are seen. It has been given that the work can be stopped on any such complaint but lack of interest on the part of residents has led to an incessant onslaught on the air that we breathe.
A proactive vigilant behaviour is lacking and this has led to an extreme indifference towards pollution. This is a crucial area of our life which cannot be neglected anymore. Environmental helplines are needed so that people can make calls if they come across such flouting of environmental laws.
This is further worsened by the cutting of huge trees while expanding roads or building infrastructure. A healthy tree removes about 70 times more pollution than a newly planted sapling.
A simple calculation shows that a human breathes 9.5-10 tons of oxygen in a year but oxygen makes up only 23% of that air by mass, we need approx 740 kg of oxygen in a year which can be produced by 7-8 trees with big wide bough.
So to remain healthy, an individual needs 7 to 8 good trees around him. It has to be ensured by all that our homes and neighbourhood have sufficient trees.
Inside our homes, it is important to have oxygen producing and air cleaning plants like aloe vera, orchids, areca, palm, basil and outside peepal, arjuna, oak, sal and poplar are advised. The larger the tree the more is the oxygen emanation. Forest cover is constantly under tremendous pressure of being handed over for non forest use.
In India, nearly 14000 sq km of forests have been cleared in last 30 years. A study in the US has revealed that deciduous trees like cherry, elm, oak, poplar and walnut sequester 2.7 pounds of carbon in the first year and enhance it to 150.6 pounds (68.3 kg) per year by the age of 55-60 years. Therefore the more aged a tree the more oxygen is produced that facilitates and enhances the detoxification process.
Detoxification is the buzzword these days. But it has to be kept in mind that 70% of it takes through breathing, 20% through perspiration 8% though urination and 2% through bowel movement. Therefore to lead a healthy life, the underlying theme is increasing oxygen levels in the body, inside homes and outside it too.