At a time when Delhi's air pollution repeatedly makes international headlines for being outrightly toxic, 16,500 life-giving trees are going to be cut in the heart of South Delhi to make way for government quarters. To stop what environmentalists are calling 'a criminal offense,' an online signature campaign is now gaining momentum.
It is reported that 1500 of the 16,500 trees have already been axed to make way for residences for government employees in Sarojini Nagar, Nauroji Nagar, Netaji Nagar, Thyagraj Nagar, Mohammadpur and Kasturba Nagar. Of the total number of trees, 11,000 are in Sarojini Nagar alone. Green activists are up in arms at the decision to fell the trees - especially as these are in residential areas where families live. That trees provide oxygen and play a key role in combating air pollution is well known and it is a fact that needs to be underlined in a city where pollution is the world's highest.
It is also learnt that while ten saplings would be planted for each tree axed, environmentalists argue that there is no monitoring that would ensure the saplings are actually indeed planted or where they would be planted.
The green signal for the felling has been received and the 15,000 trees stare at an early death. Unless an online signature campaign jolts authorities to take note of the imminent environmental danger.
The campaign, started on airalert.nic, has received 14,500 signatures and is likely to reach its target of 15,000 by the end of Thursday. Addressed to Hardeep S Puri, Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs, and Dr Harsh Vardhan, minister for enviroment, forest and climate change, the campaign seeks to bring a halt to the felling of tress.