Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) is an Urban Ecosystem which is known for two prominent landscape features, River Yamuna and the Delhi Ridge or the Northern extension of Aravalli hills. The Delhi NCR has a geographical area of 1,483 sq km. The air pollution levels in Delhi are extremely high and the transport sector is the major contributor to this menace, releasing nearly 421.84 tonnes of CO2, 110.45 tonnes of NO2 and 12.77 tonnes of particulate matter in the atmosphere every day (Dept. of Environment & Forests, 2010). According to a survey of 1,600 global cities by the World Health Organization, the air quality in Delhi is the worst amongst any city in the World; which irreversibly damages the lungs of 2.2 million or 50 per cent of all children in Delhi. Nearly 40,000 Indians experience early death due to air pollution every year where 7,500 are from Delhi alone (Ravindra, Wauters, Tyagi, Mor & Grieken, 2006). Mortality from respiratory infection is 43%, of which 16% are infant deaths (Department of Planning, 2011). In a recent report by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, it was showcased that the total emission of particulate matter (PM 2.5) increased in the Delhi city by 15 per cent in 2018 as compared to the year 2010. The report further showcased that the transport sector contributes about 41 per cent of PM 2.5 emission, followed by windblown dust from roads and other sources with 21.5 per cent and industries by 18.6 per cent in the capital region. The particulate matter of 2.5 can penetrate deeply into the human lungs causing major respiratory problems.
Delhi's aquifers also stand in danger of depletion on account of excessive use; furthermore, rampant construction activity has contaminated them with cement, paints, varnishes and other construction materials. As per Delhi Government's data, a total of 112,169 trees have been cut down from 2005 to February 2018 due in part to the construction of Delhi Metro and Rapid Transit System. Avian diversity is also on the decline in Delhi; perhaps the considerable example of this are the sparrows, which were once abundant in the region but are today restricted to only a few parts of the city. In 2012, the Government of Delhi declared Sparrow as the State Bird of Delhi in order to aid its conservation. Trees help in regulating micro-climates by releasing oxygen and absorbing carbon along with other particulate matters.
Neem (Azadirachta indica), Kadamb (Neolamarckia cadamba), Amaltas (Cassia fistula), Arjun (Terminalia arjuna), Shisham (Dalbergia sissoo), Jamun (Syzygium cumini L.), Pilkhan (Ficus virens).
The planting of trees in the urban landscape of Delhi will help in increasing forest cover; improving the habitat for indigenous wildlife species. Trees will help to improve the overall air quality and ecosystem. By acting as carbon sinks, they will help to compensate for the greenhouse effect through the sequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Upon maturity, each tree can absorb approximately 20kg of CO2 per year which is considered globally as a conservative estimate for sequestration potential of trees.Trees will aid in removing particulate matter from the atmosphere, particularly small particles which are responsible for major air-pollution-related health hazards. Trees along urban areas can reduce the presence of fine particulate matter in the atmosphere within a few hundred meters of the plantation range.
These trees are aimed to prove beneficial in reducing topsoil erosion, decreasing the force of storms and down water runoff which in turn will help to replenish the groundwater table. Roots are especially beneficial for removing harmful nutrients from the aquifers. This also results in the overall reduction in street flooding and sedimentation in streams.
Not only this, trees provide shelter and food for a variety of birds and animals. They help to maintain and sustain the local biodiversity by improving natural habitats. Flowers, fruits, leaves, buds and woody parts of trees are useful to different species of birds and animals. Trees also provide shade, reduce water and air temperatures and contribute to the overall health of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems by providing habitat, shelter and food to diverse species. Thus, the project also contributes positively to the United Nations 2030 agenda on Sustainable Development Goals on Climate Action (13) and Life on Land (15) with the promotion of large native forests
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