Trees hold the key to healthy life

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - Uttarpradesh - (Views ex­pressed are per­sonal)

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.

MEENAKSHI SINGH

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