Tata Motors drives Urban Forests to protect environment

In Warje Urban Forest overall oxygen production going up to 7 lakh kg and sequestration of 3 lakh kg of carbon, annually, besides reducing soil erosion by 130%.

@SunitaM25130525 Published in Enviro Annotations of 1st July 2020 issue

Tata Motors, a leading global automobile manufacturer of cars, utility vehicles, pick-ups, trucks and buses, a part of the Tata group has been consistently exhibiting its working towards environmental protection. On the occasion of the World Environment Day 2020 celebration, which was based on the theme Nagar Van (Urban Forests), the Warje Urban Forest is model was presented. Tata Motors piloted the concept of Urban Forestry in Warje near Pune, few years back, in collaboration with Technology, Education, Research and Rehabilitation for the Environment (TERRE) Policy Centre, an international environmental organisation. In a span of just 3 years, a project that started on a 40-acre barren plot witnessed immense success and was scaled up to 100-acres, transformed into a lush greenspace, becoming a micro-habitat and a recreational attraction to the local communities.

Emphasizing on the Indian culture, the Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar has stated “India is probably the only country where trees are worshiped, where animals, birds and reptiles are worshiped, which demonstrates enormous respect the Indian society carries for the environment. We had a very important tradition of village forest since ages, now this new scheme of urban forest will fill up the gap because urban areas have Gardens but very rarely forests. With this activity of creating urban forest we will also create additional carbon sink.”

Research is increasingly supporting the thesis that urban forests and urban trees are good for our physical and mental health and that it provides a range of benefits to local communities. According to a 29th June 2020 press release, Tata Motors has stated that since 2015, more than 2000 company volunteers have planted over 50,000 indigenous saplings (with 98% survival rate) at Warje. With 40% canopy cover, Warje Urban Forestry is rich in biodiversity hosting 10 species of animals and reptile, 50 avian species, 200 species of insects and 15 species of vegetation. The increased green cover has provided the city with fresh clean air with the overall oxygen production going up to 7 lakh kg and sequestration of 3 lakh kg of carbon, annually. Additionally, the project also focused on reducing soil erosion by 130%.

Tata Motors has stated that Warje Urban Forestry project today stands as the grand success among Tata Motors’ CSR activities. Expressing joy, Vinod Kulkarni, CSR – Head, Tata Motors said “For the last several years, we at Tata Motors has been contributing to the green cover, as a part of our consistent tree plantation drive, which started on June 5, 2009, World Environment Day. We firmly believe in actively assessing the improvement of the quality of life of the people in the communities, giving preference to local areas around our business operations. With the Urban Forestry project, the local communities were made its custodian and they were offered an honorarium to ensure the upkeep of the forest, thereby creating a more aware group of citizens towards environmental protection and have demonstrated a high degree of ownership.”

Tree plantation and soil moisture conservation works as a core strategy for biodiversity conservation in the country. He emphasized on the need to address the problems of silting, soil degradation, and reduced water flow in the river basins. This could be better attained through a collective work by everyone.

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by Dr. Ashaq Hussain Khan, Lecturer in Botany, Govt. Degree College, Bhaderwah (Jammu & Kashmir)

Climate change is a burning issue and is a real threat in the world. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has confirmed in several reports climate change is man-made and caused by the excessive emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Nowadays the accumulation of green house gases has reached dangerous levels threatening climate change and global warming beyond the limits of human tolerance. The UN calls for push to cut green house gases level to avoid climate chaos. But what has been observed that there is lack of seriousness in world leaders towards urgency of situation.

“The threat from corona virus is temporary,

But threat from climate change will remains with us for years”

Our interactions with environment have brought more wild life diseases to our homes. Research reveals that all viral diseases such as Corona, AIDS, Zika, Ebola and other viruses spreads because of human interference with nature.

When you harm the nature, nature will harm you back

And Interference with nature brings disasters”

On 31st December, 2019 China alerted world health organization to several cases of unusual pneumonia in Wuhan. Wuhan went to lockdown on 31st January, 2020. Like fire the corona virus spread worldwide and finally the corona virus outbreak has been labelled a pandemic by world health organization. While the whole world grapples with the corona virus pandemic, the slowdown in anthropogenic activity has shown positive impact on mother earth. To combat the rapidly spreading of virus, many global countries have put a complete lockdown resulting in limited travel and industrial activities. Due to this pandemic lockdown green house gases emissions are falling sharply as its has restricted the fossil fuel consumption. The literature reveals that in china carbon dioxide emission were down an estimated 18% between early February and mid March due to fall in coal consumption and industrial output. Meanwhile, in the European Union, decline in power demand and depressed manufacturing allowed green house gas emission to fall by nearly 400 million metric tons this year, a figure that represents about 9% percent of the European cumulative 2020 emission target.

Therefore it is clear that corona virus pandemic lockdown is having positive impact on climate change. Though the Green house gases emission is sharply declining due this pandemic lockdown and mother earth is healing rapidly, but this planetary breather is nothing to celebrate, as it is a deadly virus that will prove major catastrophe, if not checked immediately.

(This article has been published in Enviro Annotations, 29th April 2020 issue)

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