Save trees: Kids ‘draw’ PM’s at­ten­tion

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES CITY - @times­group.com

New Delhi: School­child­ren have sent 300 post­cards to the Prime Min­is­ter urg­ing him to stop felling of 1,713 trees at Pra­gati Maidan for a re­de­vel­op­ment project.

A cit­i­zen group of en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists, tree lovers and ac­tivists, which is be­hind the drive, is also plan­ning to launch an on­line pe­ti­tion as well as move court against the de­ci­sion to cut these trees for the re­de­vel­op­ment of the ITPO com­plex at Pra­gati Maidan. They have sug­gested al­ter­na­tive mea­sures to in­cor­po­rate the trees into the project ar­chi­tec­ture it­self to pre­vent them from be­ing cut.

The post­cards, with mes­sages like ‘Please don’t cut trees in Pra­gati Maidan’ and ‘Save trees, Save Delhi’, were sent to the Prime Min­is­ter’s BUD­DING EN­VI­RON­MEN­TAL­ISTS: res­i­dence on Sun­day.

The drive was launched af­ter the group came to know through an RTI ap­pli­ca­tion that the for­est depart­ment has al­ready granted per­mis­sion for felling these trees. How­ever, the project is yet to get an en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact as­sess­ment (EIA) clear­ance.

“These are large, adult trees es­ti­mated to be around 50-60 years old and re­plac­ing them with small saplings does not make any sense, es­pe­cially as Delhi is reel­ing un­der air pol­lu­tion that is at haz­ardous lev­els on a reg­u­lar ba­sis,” said Preeti Bharad­waj, so­cial worker and en­v­i­ron- men­tal­ist who is spear­head­ing the post­card cam­paign.

“A re­vised plan with the trees integrated in the de­sign will be a model for our coun­try to show­case. Delhi has lost over 15,000 trees in the last three years, so we need to put a com­plete stop to any more tree felling,” said Ver­haen Khanna, a tree lover and ac­tivist.

Ac­cord­ing to the EIA re­port ac­cessed by the group, the PM2.5 lev­els in the area vary from a min­i­mum of 42 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­tre to a max­i­mum of 126. Ac­tivists ar­gue that cut­ting down trees in the area will only make the air qual­ity worse. “The pre­scribed limit of Cen­tral Pol­lu­tion Con­trol Board is 60 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­tre. If these trees are cut, the lev­els will only get worse,” said Aditya N Prasad, an en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist.

The schoolchil­dren’s post­cards with the mes­sages were sent to the Prime Min­is­ter’s res­i­dence

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