32L trees to guard Delhi from dust storms

Delhi’s forest department is planning to build a “wall” of trees that, it claims, will guard against dust and pollution from neighbouring states. Officials said they were planning to conduct this year’s monsoon plantation in a way that in a few years when the saplings grow into trees, they would act like a natural wall.

Recently, Union and state development agencies in the capital had informed the lieutenant governor that they would plant about 28 lakh saplings of native trees. The figure has now been raised to over 32 lakh. These will encircle the borders to shield the city from frequent dusty winds coming from Rajasthan. A Delhi forest department official said that “this time, our focus will be on the outskirts like Asola, Tughlakabad, Ayanagar, Narela, Sawda Ghevra and Yamuna floodplain. We will plant both native shrubs and saplings and our intention is also to replenish the ridge so that it acts as a barrier”.

The natural barrier is to come up all along Delhi border with Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, while also encompassing the Aravali and the Yamuna forests areas. The scheme has two objectives — absorption of particulate matter by trees and shielding Delhi from dust storms.

Pilkhan, goolar, mango, mahua and other native tress have been chosen for this scheme. Peepul, neem, amla (Indian gooseberry), jamun, amaltas, bahera and a few other species will also be planted. The minute dust particles and other pollutants of air easily get deposited on the leaves of evergreen trees and are subsequently washed down to the ground.

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