Conditions Conducive for Living in Our Hands
One of the most important environmental challenges of our time around the world has become the acute problem of preserving the forest and its wealth. Despite the fact that the total forest area on the planet is about 38 million sq. km, or one third of the land area, the trends associated with the deforestation of the Earth are of concern not only to environmentalists, but also to the entire international community.
This is due to the fact that according to expert estimates, only in the last 10 thousand years a person has destroyed 26 million square meters. km of forests. At the same time, there has been a progressive trend of a steady reduction in the area of world forests – every day and every second, the Earth is losing more than 1.5 hectares of virgin forest. Each year, more than 13 million hectares of forest are cut down, causing about 12-18% of global carbon emissions to grow, which is almost equal to the sum of total carbon dioxide emissions from all transport. Deforestation accounts for 12-20% of global greenhouse gas emissions contributing to global warming. Along with this, forests are dying from fires, illegal logging, natural disasters, the impact of diseases and other causes, as well as in connection with the transformation of forest areas for various human needs.
At the same time, the reduction of forest area leads to irreparable negative processes of global importance for the whole of nature and the vital activity of all mankind. Forests have invaluable environmental, social and economic value. Green areas, forests are the factory of clean air; they are the lungs of our planet and provide us with oxygen. Forests are home to 80% of land creatures. In addition, they provide food and a healthy environment for people; help preserve the fertility of the soil and landscapes. Also, timber is the main source of renewable energy throughout the world.
In Uzbekistan, as in most countries of the world, a variety of actions and activities are held aimed at protecting forests and green spaces.
Of course, the most important component that characterizes the ecological condition of any territory of a city, district, region is its gardening. Green plantings purify the air of pollutants and saturate it with oxygen, soften dryness and air temperature, quench the noise level. I would like to dwell on one of the greenest megacities in the world, which is the city of Tashkent. In it, the area of greenery is 35% of the total area of the city, where 18 parks and the Botanical Garden are located, occupying an area of about 230 hectares, more than 220 species of trees and about 30 types of shrubs grow. The most common pine, juniper, poplar, oak, elm, chestnut, catalpa, Oriental sycamore and others. In the parks and squares of the city a large number of representatives of the exotic flora brought from other countries (linden felt, Norway maple, tulip tree, large-flowered magnolia, American ash, paper tree, ginkgo, Japanese safora, boxwood, cypress and others). Compared with 1991, the area of green space per inhabitant of the city increased by almost 10 square meters. m. Currently, at a rate of 50 square meters per person, accounting for an average of almost 69-71 square meters. m area occupied by trees and shrubs. The level of landscaping in Tashkent is 2-3 times higher than in such cities as St. Petersburg, Beijing, Moscow, Seattle, despite the fact that the dry and hot climate of the capital of Uzbekistan is less favorable for plant activity. Only in the last two or three years, several new park areas have been broken up in the capital, part of the asphalt pavement in the places of rest of the townspeople is replaced by flower beds and lawns.
Modernization of industrial enterprises, the introduction of new cleaning methods, the withdrawal of some of the most dangerous enterprises from the central part of the city, as well as regular monitoring of pollution sources at enterprises and highways, also contributed to the fact that the level of air pollution in Tashkent is much lower than in cities such as Beijing, Tokyo, Chicago and several others.
During this period, the emissions of pollutants decreased by more than a quarter. The level of air pollution in the city in terms of dust complies with sanitary and hygienic standards, and carbon dioxide, phenol, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and ammonia are 1.5-2.5 times lower than sanitary and hygienic standards.
In terms of today's
requirements, entering a new stage of state development, the “road map” of systemic reforms in all spheres of our society’s life has become the Action Strategy for the five priority areas of development of the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2017-2021, proposed by the head of our state taking into account not only objective assessing our potential, but also critically analyzing shortcomings. It is a fundamental strategic document of further real action renewal, where the natural, historical, national, demographic and environmental features inherent in Uzbekistan are fully taken into account. The annual state programs for the implementation of the Strategy include a number of measures to preserve the unique flora and fauna, increase soil fertility and ameliorate improvement of irrigated land, and rehabilitate the ecological situation in the Aral Sea region. I would like to note that in order to stabilize the ecological situation, only in the Aral Sea zone over the past few years projects have been implemented totaling more than $ 5.5 billion. Only in the last 10 years on the dried bottom of the Aral laid about 350 thousand hectares of forest protective plantings from saxaul and other salt-resistant plant species. An unprecedented step aimed at improving the ecological and socio-economic situation, preserving biological diversity, restoring degraded ecosystems and developing a network of protected natural areas in the Aral region, was the adoption of the Comprehensive Program to mitigate the effects of the Aral disaster, rehabilitation and socio-economic development of the Aral region in 2015-2018 ”, which includes more than 500 projects totaling over $ 4 billion, as well as the State Program for the Development of the Aral Region in the 2017-2021 years, the realization of which will be allocated funds from the State budget and to attract investments in excess of 8 trillion soums.
The Ecological Movement
of Uzbekistan also proposes a program of action to develop and implement measures to create an environmentally friendly area in the country. As a pilot project, it is envisaged to gradually turn the territory of a certain area into a “green territory” with favorable conditions for living, work and recreation of the local population. To this end, it is planned to implement a set of measures such as the formation of a special investment program and a plan for mobilizing financial and material and technical resources for the implementation of the “green territory” concept. In particular, the creation of new parks, gardens, green alleys on the territory of mahallas, educational institutions and enterprises, the construction of bicycle paths, sports and recreational and children’s playgrounds in each district, equipment of recreation places for the elderly in each district mahalla, expansion of the range of free medical services for socially vulnerable groups of the population, organization of eco-clubs, ecological circles and “green patrols”, creation of ecological corners in preschool educational institutions, schools, lyceums, colleges of the district, Creating regional headquarters of public inspectors of environmental control and the organization of their work effectively, the organization of visual propaganda on environmental issues and the involvement of various categories of population in national ecological contests, organization of regional competitions on the subject of environmental protection. Based on the practical experience gained, further expansion of such “green territories” is envisaged throughout the country.
At the same time, planting and renewal of trees and shrubs in cities and towns is a constant process that must be carried out consistently and taking into account the ecological condition not only of the territory, but also with the special properties of green spaces – absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, purify the air from dust and various pollutants, create favorable conditions (increase humidity, reduce temperature, reduce noise), and create and improve aesthetic appearance. For example, the dust content of air in green areas of a residential microdistrict is 40% lower than in open areas; up to 70-80% of dust aerosols are captured in them. At the entrance to the park or park, the air temperature decreases by 0.60 Celsius, the relative humidity of the air increases by 5–10%, the wind speed decreases by seven times, and inside – by 11 times. Currently, intensive gardens and vineyards are being created on an area of more than 20 thousand hectares. Soon they will annually absorb carbon dioxide emitted in the order of 100 thousand units. motor vehicles, which is about a quarter of the total number of cars registered in the country.
Therefore, planting trees and shrubs in cities and towns should be carried out in accordance with the general plan for the development of the territory, and when carrying out construction work it is necessary to observe the conditions for the maximum conservation of vegetation cover and planting new trees and shrubs, as well as the restoration of the irrigation network. National legislation for violations in the field of ecology provides for both administrative and criminal liability, including illegal logging and damage to trees in cities with mandatory compensation of damage.
These issues were discussed in July this year at a plenary meeting of the Legislative Chamber of Oliy Majlis, where the electronic collective appeal of citizens “On the Reform of the Tree Protection System in the Territories of Cities and Villages”, posted on the Mening Fikrim web site, was considered.
In order to prevent the cutting of trees and preserve greenery in cities and villages, a joint resolution of the State Committee on Ecology and Environmental Protection of June 19, 2018 and the hokim of Tashkent city of June 21, 2018 “On strengthening the protection of trees and shrubs existing in Tashkent, preventing illegal logging of trees, creating a system of preserving trees and perennial shrubs when allocating land for business and urban planning”.
According to this document, from September 1, 2018, only the Department for the Protection of Trees and Perennial Plants will have the exclusive right to cut and form trees under the General Administration for Improvement in Tashkent. In order to ensure public control, a system of notification of self-governing bodies of citizens and district inspectors on prevention of the permits, planned and carried out work for cutting and forming trees is introduced. Employees of the patrol and inspection services to ensure public law and order of the Department of Internal Affairs of the capital are charged with carrying out prevention and prevention of illegal logging of trees and shrubs in the areas assigned to them. When issuing permits for tree felling on land plots allocated for construction or other purposes, the principle “10 trees for each tree felled” is introduced. This experience was proposed to spread throughout the country.
To solve these problems, we, ecologists, need to strengthen our activities to further enhance public participation in the practical implementation of measures not only in addressing environmental issues, but also in conducting widespread propaganda for the rational use of natural resources without harming future generations.