Friday, May 24, 2024
Editorial

Green cover

Editorial

That the forests are important to us, to our life, to our economy and health is an established fact. The green leaves of the plants/trees are the basis of our natural environment as all life on planet earth is dependent upon them. It is because the leaves of plants/trees manufacture food not only for themselves but for animals also, including human beings. The plants purify our air by absorbing poisoning gases and release for us, as well as animals, oxygen rich air in the atmosphere. In this light, an ideal natural environment would be either possessing lot of trees and plants or a dense forest with an undergrowth of shrubs, climbers, grasses and herbs, etc. It should also have millions of micro-organisms and macro-organisms (earthworms, millipedes, centipedes etc) in the soil vis-à-vis birds and animals in the forests. The soil must be free of soil erosion. It is the wilderness of the forest that is much sought for in our natural environment. However, these days such an environment is merely a dream. The looming population of human beings and livestock has wrought havoc on forests and grasslands, causing deterioration in our natural environment and eventually in its freshness. As a matter of fact, the virginity and wilderness have been lost probably for all times. Forest belts in general are shrinking fast. Springs and waterfalls have now totally dried up. A number of streams have also dried up. Since water is a forest produce so there is water famine. Forest cover is most essential for our survival. And its devastation is the greatest threat to the entire animal kingdom in which man is also included. Due to devastation of the forests, the ecological balance has been upset, and the natural order of life, both of the plants and the animals, is thrown under chaos and confusion. The natural cycles of oxygen, carbon and nitrogen are greatly disrupted. The food chain of the forest is thoroughly broken and the pollination phenomenon by insects and seed dispersal by birds and animals is badly hit. Nagaland have lost wilderness in toto. As per an analysis by Down To Earth, the North Eastern region of India lost 76% of its tree cover in 2020, recording the biggest dip in the country. Nagaland itself saw its forest cover shrink the fastest since 2001, suffering a 17% drop in the two decades. The magnificent wildlife has disappeared, and has almost gone extinct. The wild habitats have been destroyed in encroachments, extension of human settlements, agriculture and whatever little is left of them is being destroyed in wild fires. Treelessness is on the increase in our villages and there is an acute scarcity of primary needs like fuel wood, fodder and timber. Increased population of towns and cities has splittered over the adjoining villages and they have lost their pristine glory. Our rural setting has lost its charm, and production of healthy foods has declined. Naturally food-bearing plants/trees have disappeared and our natural health has been adversely affected. Loss of villages is an irreparable loss as most of our culture and civilization has always been flourishing in the villages. The environmental conditions of our town are worse. Heaps of garbage and filth, foul smell, flies, mosquitoes characterize the environment of these centres of populations. Trees are disappearing fast from our towns. These days, state capital Kohima and Dimapur is like a big slum and in the slum, there are a number of smaller slums. These slums have endangered the citizenry with their dirt and filth. We see numerous cases where there is an approval of massive development projects and the green areas turning into concrete jungles. The environmental impact assessments are shallow giving precedence to the governmental or developmental bodies. The consequences have been disastrous with threats to the environment looming large. Perhaps under the present situation and circumstances, there is an acute need to promote urban forestry, as plenty of space is available for tree planting. Trees are our lungs and are the most effective in lessening pollution as well. We need to enhance tree cover, and save ourselves from the adverse effects of global warming. Setting targets to plant more trees is a good way of adding to the green cover. But it should be ensured that the targets are met.

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