Biodiversity plantation drives transforming metros like Mumbai and Delhi
Biodiversity, which includes a wide range of plants, animals, fungi, and even microorganisms, is essential to human existence. When we think about biodiversity, though, we usually think of rural settings or locations distant from the hustle and bustle of cities. We seem to forget that cities, like other natural ecosystems, have to be preserved, cared for, and maintained.
Cities need biodiversity plantation drives in metros like Mumbai and Delhi are striving to not just transform ‘urban heat islands’ with vegetation but also help to improve air quality and canopy coverage
Imagine a city where the buying and manufacturing processes do not harm the environment, where the air you breathe is clean and refreshing, and where the tweeting of birds is not drowned out by the din of traffic. Biodiversity is frequently used to assess the health of an ecosystem; a healthy ecosystem will be able to support a diverse range of life. A lack of biodiversity in a given location can cause scientists studying it to identify issues such as polluted water or air.
Cities currently house 51% of the world’s population, resulting in a massive carbon impact.
Promoting a healthy environment by fostering biodiversity is one approach to mitigate this carbon impact. Green initiatives must be implemented in metropolitan areas where the human population has taken over and modified the landscape in order to enable other living species to thrive.
Living walls, for example, are an excellent method to introduce plants into urban settings and can also contain a range of living species such as birds and insects. When constructing a living wall, there should always be a conscious effort to ensure that the plants used are native to the area and do not affect the local ecosystems.
The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has also served as a stark reminder of our vulnerability to extreme events and the urgent need to protect ourselves and the environment from them. The importance of urban biodiversity conservation for people’s overall well-being is a key lesson we’ve learned in the aftermath of the pandemic. It can be done through preserving, establishing, restoring, and enhancing a varied range of ecosystems within the city, as well as connecting them with ecological corridors.
By enacting land-use rules, cities can greatly contribute to minimising biodiversity loss. Natural reserves, urban parks, and green zones help to keep natural species inside city limits while also giving physical and mental health advantages to city residents. The creation of watersheds and the restriction of wetlands invasion would not only maintain natural ecosystems and biodiversity, but will also protect urban areas from natural hazards.
Growing development, shrinking forest cover, declining wildlife populations, and deteriorating environmental elements have all pointed to the necessity for more and more plantation drives. One common thread connects biodiversity loss, air pollution, environmental deterioration, and natural disasters: the loss of forest cover. Urban heat islands are thought to be a direct effect of urbanisation. Delhi and Mumbai, like many other cities, have more than doubled in size and population in the last 25 years. As a result, city people have been experiencing the effects of the onslaught of heat in the form of heat waves, health effects, and an increase in mortality among the elderly.
One of the quickest and most effective ways to mitigate the effects of the urban heat island effect is to plant trees. They can help fight climate change by absorbing pollutant gases (NXOy, O3, NH3, SO2, and others) and trapping pollutants on their leaves and bark, as well as cooling the city and streets. Trees are also known to help conserve energy (by reducing air-conditioning expenses by 50%), save water, prevent water pollution, and protect people and children from ultraviolet rays.
With the purpose of tackling the vast range of environmental issues that trees can help with, Grow-Trees.com initiated extensive plantation drives in the villages of Thane and Mumbai Metropolitan Region, as well as within Delhi city. Plantation drives in and around cities are an excellent approach to improve general air quality and canopy coverage while also increasing forest cover and protecting native wildlife habitats. When fully mature, the trees will act as carbon sinks, sequestering carbon emissions and assisting in the mitigation of the greenhouse effect, which is particularly prevalent in urban areas.
Natural ecosystems provide far too many health benefits, ranging from strengthening immune function, mood, and concentration to reducing stress and amplifying the benefits of physical activity. Ecosystems also provide clean air and water, food, and climate regulation, all of which contribute to human well-being. Creating urban places that improve air and water quality, encourage active living, and lessen the urban heat island effect can have a huge impact on human and environmental health.
We may mistakenly believe that city life is all about skyscrapers, luxuries, and modern amenities. This is only because we haven’t witnessed cities that are as rich in natural beauty as they are in man-made opulence. Our depleting green areas have led us to conclude that modernisation is the result of our unhealthy relationship with nature over the years. We must recognise that man-environment cohabitation is a greater privilege than any other, and that we can only succeed and grow if we safeguard our environment.
Supriya Patil, Environmental Expert – Supriya holds a Master’s in environmental science. Her brief research stint with a water purification company piqued her interest to learn more about water management and suggest sustainable ways to recuperate from social and environmental issues.