Crying foul over the blatant disregard to norms and the environment per se in Madhya Pradesh as elsewhere, the National Environment Parliament held in Bhopal on Thursday called for sustained growth to ensure minimum harm to the environment and ensuring a safer future.
In his address in the conclave attended by environment activists from across the country, Bhopal based green activist Dr Subhas C Pandey quoting a research paper published in 2016, shared an alarming data that if things remain as they are, Bhopal city’s total green cover which stood at 66% in 1990 will deplete to meagre 4% by 2025.
Dr TV Ramchandran from the Indian Institute of Science Bangalore had published a research paper in 2016 studying the gradual depletion of green cover in four major cities including Bhopal. The scholar blaming the unplanned growth in these cities for the fast depletion of green cover had claimed that by 2025, this cover could shrink as low as 4%.
“Going by the prevailing circumstances in the city, the outcome only seems an understatement,” said Dr Pandey.
He while using this as his research base and using Google images, had mapped the destruction of greenery in Bhopal between 2009 and 2019 dividing the city into 13 zones. The outcomes of the study were equally alarming as nine of the city areas saw the destruction of green cover over 225-acre in ten years.
If an acre of the area has 450 trees, these areas lost around one lakh trees, he said, adding most of the trees were over 50-years-old. Based on Dr TV Ramchandran’s formula, the green cover in the city which stood at 35% in 2009 has shrunk to 9% by 2019, said Dr Pandey also claiming that blatant disregard to Master Plan of the city by the political fraternity, things have gone from bad to worse.
This led to increased pollution, depleted groundwater level, hampered ecology and reduced oxygen percentage in air, added the environment researcher. The Smart City project too has proved a menace for the green cover in the city, he said.
None of the 18 ponds of the city is left with potable water, said Dr Pandey, adding the Upper Lake supplies potable water to around 40% population in the city.
Sharad Singh Kumre, the convener of the environment parliament, claimed that the green volunteers will now take up the issue of depleting green cover in the city on the highest priority.
Manish Jain Amit Bhatnagar, an activist engaged with the Save Buxwaha project, claimed that the local persons don’t want the diamond project and are in favour of saving the vast natural forest which faces the axe due to the diamond excavation project in the area.
The Ken-Betwa river link, an ambitious river inter-link project that is expected to be inaugurated ahead of the UP Assembly polls also resonated in the event with environment activist Amit Bhatnagar saying that as an alternate, traditional water bodies could be revived for addressing water scarcity in the Bundelkhand region.
The volunteers demanded sustained and planned growth for a safe and secured future. The event also adopted a resolution for saving the environment and urging policymakers to amend ways.