A few days back I got to know that Bombay HC has given permission to cut off close to three thousand trees in Aarey milk colony to build a metro shed. All the protest from the proponents of Save Aarey went down the drain as BMC mauled down more than two thousand trees overnight. Government's position on this issue was the age old 'the need for infrastructure development' argument. They also claimed that they would plant three times as many plants somewhere else as compensation.
It doesn't take a genius anymore to see the climate patterns changing drastically. Mumbai rains, once known to arrive predictably in the 1st half of June, has become more and more unpredictable in recent times. Not only the arrival is unpredictable, the quantity and intensity, even the departure is no longer something any of our advanced climate models can predict. Mumbai air is becoming more polluted by the day. People are suffering from respiratory illnesses. The quality of the air now shows 'hazardous to human health' on the best days. The population and number of vehicle emitting toxic greenhouse gases are constantly on the rise. The only hope, was the proximity to the sea and a few green patches still left standing. One of them were Aarey forest.
And after a few days of this incident, I again read a headline that Indian government is planning to build 1400 km long great (green) wall to combat climate change!!
I cannot hide my disappointment!! The green wall is needed, probably more than anything right now, so that we don't suffocate in a few decades. But we are cutting matured grown trees in one place and planting trees in the other!! If we didn't even have the realization of the seriousness of the issue, I would pity the ignorance. But here we know the issue but chose to act on our profit motive only, what can we call this?
We NEED to plant trees. Not just 1400 km long corridor. More, a lot more. But the newly planted trees can never be a replacement for the grown up matured forests, independent eco systems. The trees planted by us are emergency damage control. But it will take decades, may be centuries for it to turn into an independent ecosystem. We need the ecosystem, with trees as the building block of it.