India Employing 300,000 Youths and Planting 2 Billion Trees

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Written by: AnonWatcher

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300,000 youths will be employed under a new scheme implemented by the Indian government. With over 10.2 percent youth employment in a country with an approximate population of 1.25 billion people, this comes at a time when it is much needed.

India is taking the initiative to not only employ and create jobs for the youths, but in turn, an environmental remedy is about to be indorsed. The employment scheme is going to potentially employ 300,000 youths to plant trees along the nation’s highways in a country that is 60 percent self- employed.  1280px-Durgapur_Xpressway

The highways equate to almost 63,000 miles of road across the country. Shipping and Rural Development Minister, Nitin Jairam Gadkari states that he has asked “officials to come out with a plan to plant 200 crore (2 billion trees along these stretches which in turn would create jobs for the unemployed on the one hand and protect the environment on the other.” This effort will help to promote the air quality in a country known for its increasing pollution with their growth as a global power. [1]

It has long been understood and studied that the planting of trees correlates with and lessens the amount of air pollution, specifically metal toxicity measured in houses. Metal toxicity is linked to several degenerative diseases pertaining to cardiovascular, cognitive and neurological health.

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Vodafone, a leading telecom service provider has also started planting on a site to help create a wildlife corridor. 300,000 trees will be planted as a part of the new Billion Tree Campaign, implemented by the United Nation’s Environmental Program. Over a 100,000 trees will be planted in this corridor over a three year period. It will also create an extra 25,000 work days for direct jobs.[2]

India’s resourcefulness to employ youths for this environmental cause can only be applauded. It’s a wonder if the western countries will follow this beneficial initiative to offset the carbon footprint.

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Sources:

[1] Amanda Froelich (27 July 2014) “How India is Creating 300,000 Jobs and Planting 2 Billion More Trees.” http://www.trueactivist.com/how-india-is-creating-300000-jobs-and-planting-2-billion-more-trees/ (Retrieved 11 September 2014)

[2] (29 August 2014) “Grow-Trees.com and Vodafone India Begin Planting 300,000 Trees in Kanha-Pench.” (Retrieved 12 September 2014) http://indiaeducationdiary.in/Shownews.asp?newsid=31008

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6 COMMENTS

  1. You have to applaud India’s effort to begin a process of reforestation. In the last few hundred years a huge percentage in fact most plant life on this planet has been decimated. In fact my first foray into writing about the environment was in 1963 at 10 years old to our local paper about the dangers of the path we were on. I lived in the San Gabriel Valley, about 20 miles east of Los Angeles. The air quality was so degraded in the 60s, it was outright poisonous. I attribute my current health problems at least in part to having breathed the poisonous air all my young life. I was raised on a hillside with all the amenities a kid could want.I was very fortunate being provided by by the prosperity of many of the ‘greatest generation’ building their lives after WWII and Korea in the suburbs. Unfortunately although the high school was but a few blocks away at the base of the foothills, there were many days so bad you could not even see it from the house. We had a large built in swimming pool, but there were many days we couldn’t use it as the chlorine in the water would react with the air, choking you and making it very difficult to breath. Finally health professionals began talking about increased asthma rates, as well as other respiratory complications of breathing that crap and legislation was introduced to finally address the problem. I still remember my parents complaining about the costs and the hassles. I still remember my step dad telling me it would never work, and that the Indians way back referred to the San Gabriel as the valley of smoke. I realize that then like now there are always going to be the naysayers professing talking points to try to absolve themselves of putting more importance in feeding their greed then in accepting responsibility for irresponsible behavior and making corrections. 50+ years later when visiting the LA area after have moved away some 30 years previously I was actually impressed with the air quality. You could actually breath it without choking, and now with emphysema it doesn’t take much to get me gasping for air. BUT it proves it can be done. There was 1 complication though. It seems that in cleaning up the particulate matter (smog), there was a sudden increase in mean temperature. It was measurable and consistently rising. They came to the conclusion that carbon dioxide levels roughly followed these trends in temperature, but for some reason the calculations were off. Long story short, it appears that even smog had its finer points. while smog levels went unchecked, the buildup of these pollutants caused the amount of sun hitting the ground to reduce. Global dimming was discovered and taking these data s into account it was learned why the mathematical models were not proving accurate. The climate changes should have been much worse much faster, BUT global dimming from the smog moderated that change. Unfortunately for the climate models the rising carbon levels and mean temperature were accelerating right along with the smog cleanup,global dimming being eased. So cleaning up our particulate matter was speeding up climate change.
    So here we are. The air is getting much better but no one has produced a plan to decrease the increasingly quicker pace of CO2 being pumped into our atmosphere other then carbon taxes which technically do nothing to actually re mediate CO2 levels. They’ve suggested carbon neutrality by retrofitting polluters with extremely expensive scrubbers and other equipment but really, what use is it to the planet if we cannot reduce carbon fast enough to offset the massive increases in carbon elsewhere in the world. I have often wondered why there seems to be but 1 expensive solution that won’t work approaching the problem in only 1 way. The obvious way.. reduce carbon pollution.
    Why is it governments simply refuse to acknowledge that a comparable amount of CO2 reduction could be achieved twice as effectively by using the carbon instead of simply not producing it. Why do the powers that be refuse to concede that the only possible means of dealing with this is dealing with and acknowledging that man has over the last few centuries devastated most of the worlds trees and plant life and in most cases at unsustainable levels. Of course any amount of harvesting these resources is unsustainable if you do no planting just harvesting. I have been screaming about this for 40-50 years, and today reading that Indian would begin a massive replanting. Now if we can pressure all world wide governments to follow India’s lead, with a few responsible changes in our energy habits, all these billions of trees and other plant life will begin taking in the co2 and exhaling pure wonderful oxygen. The plant life will mitigate the loss of soils to erosion, will accommodate moisture intake by the growing media, and shade it to prevent the baking out of the soil by the sun. Soils now baked by the sun will now have plant life providing shade, and holding moisture. Landslide prone hillsides can be made far more stable by the root systems of plant life.
    I cannot stress how important this is. Not only is India replanting, it is putting hundreds of thousands of people to work. Most importantly any costs involved in this project will be dwarfed by the sheer wealth these trees as a resource will represent in the years to come. And the management of this projected resource will further create jobs in the future as the trees mature in cutting, hauling,milling, building, etc. Plus 30-40 years from now they will be looking at a beautiful and practical resource that would not even exist had they not taken this step.. They will have plenty instead of scarcity, trees instead of wasteland, resources rather then liabilities.
    Let us replant a paradise.
    (sorry for rambling, but India’s plan is a very important thing I did not believe I would be alive to see. It is simply wonderful.)

  2. Greenwashing mostly. According to a recent article:

    “The United Progressive Alliance government left behind a legacy of weakened safeguards for India’s environment, forests and forest-dwelling people. The Narendra Modi government has lost no time in weakening them further. The process has been so accelerated that journalists have struggled to keep pace while reporting on them.

    While some changes have been made and notified, others are under process. Some changes might still be unknown; given the quiet functioning of the Modi government with officials being directed to refrain from speaking to the media.

    Here is a look at seven changes that have been reported.

    1) Taking away the right of tribal village councils to oppose an industrial project

    The National Democratic Alliance government is looking to discard a provision of the Forest Rights Act, 2006, that requires the “prior informed consent” of gram sabhas before their forests are cleared for industrial activity. The Act, implemented in 2008, recognises the rights of indigenous tribes over forestlands, asking these groups to certify that their rights have not been violated by an upcoming project.

    The government is now trying to bypass the gram sabhas without having to amend the Forest Rights Act, the Business Standard reported. It has already removed the need for gram sabha consent while prospecting for minerals in forestlands.

    The Forest Rights Act provisions protect local communities that conserve forests since many development projects impinge upon their livelihoods, explained TR Shankar Raman, a scientist with the Nature Conservation Foundation. He points out that affected communities will turn to protest if they are not kept part of the decision-making process. “It could be counterproductive because after the forests are cleared, there is a lot of tension on the ground, protests and court cases,” he said. “This might help to get the file out of the ministry but six months down the line you run into trouble. You need longer-term thinking on this.”

    2) Reconfiguring the National Board of Wildlife to reduce the authority of independent experts

    The government has reconstituted the standing committee of the National Board for Wildlife and in doing so has flouted the Wildlife Protection Act’s requirement for independent experts. The new board includes the Gujarat Ecological Education and Research Foundation in place of the mandatory five non-government expert institutions. The government has also replaced 10 individual experts with two new ones, bringing the total number of outside members to just three.

    The move is under scrutiny in the Supreme Court, which has stopped the Board from making any decisions until further orders. The court has also put a hold on the few decisions that the newly constituted Board managed to quickly push through. These include a 40-km road passing through the Wild Ass Sanctuary and a 22-km canal of the Sardar Sarovar Project, both in Kutch, Gujarat.

    3) Exempting coal mining from public hearings, allowing irrigation projects without clearances

    The Environment Ministry has allowed coalmines with a capacity of less than 16 million tons per annum to expand without conducting a public hearing. The cut-off for this exemption used to be 8 mtpa. The ministry has also cleared the one-time expansion of mines with capacity greater than 20 mtpa if the expansion is restricted to 6 mtpa.

    Pushp Jain, director of the EIA Resource and Response Centre in New Delhi, says that without a public hearing, local people will be excluded from decision-making and won’t be given a forum to protest. “When a public hearing is held, you have to provide documents about what expansion is planned,” he explained. “These will be put where people can see them, circulated to gram panchayats and so on.”

    Environmental lawyer Ritwick Dutta says the public hearing process is supposed to be completed within 30 days as per law and that this cannot by itself cause inordinate delay to the project. “The exemption is problematic because there is a principle of non-regression,” he said. “In issues that concern the environment, you cannot go back because the threats are only increasing with every passing day,”

    Irrigation projects affecting less than 2,000 hectares will no longer require environmental clearances. Those occupying less than 10,000 hectares can be cleared by the state governments.

    4) Lifting the moratorium on new industries in critically polluted areas

    In September 2013, the United Progressive Alliance’s environment ministry directed the Central Pollution Control Board to reassess the Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index, an important criterion for project clearance, while keeping intact the moratorium on new industries in critically-polluted areas.

    But even before the review is completed, the ministry under Prakash Javadekar has lifted the moratorium in eight critically polluted areas – Ghaziabad, Indore, Jharsuguda, Ludhiana, Panipat, Patancheru-Bollaram, Singrauli and Vapi.

    In a blog post on Down To Earth, environmental activist Rohit Prajapati explains how the UPA government, under pressure from pollution-affected groups, imposed the moratorium on these eight areas. Pressure from the industrial lobby prevented it from imposing the moratorium on all 43 regions identified as critically polluted. “The mucky politics and economics of ‘GDP growth’ prevailed over the cause of ‘life and livelihood’ of ordinary people and ‘environment & conservation’,” he writes.

    Prajapati says that the Modi government has gone a step further, and once again cleared the decks for industry without addressing issues of pollution and refusing to engage in debate about it.

    5) Diluting forest norms and allowing industry to creep closer to national parks

    The environment ministry has changed a provision of the Environmental Impact Assessment rules to allow projects to come up within 5 km of a protected area without clearance from the now-toothless National Board for Wildlife. The earlier rule made NBWL clearance mandatory for projects in these eco-sensitive zones unless they were 10 km or more away.

    Even more damaging, the ministry has reduced the parameters for deciding whether a forestland can be opened up for mining and industry. The ministry will now use four parameters instead of six parameters – forest type, biological richness, wildlife value, density of forest cover, integrity of the landscape, and hydrological value.

    The environment ministry has relaxed Forest Conservation Act norms for road, rail and other public works projects that involve cutting trees in forest areas. It has also lifted restrictions in the ecologically sensitive areas near the Line of Actual Control and Naxal-affected districts by giving states more power to issue clearances and lessening the load on the central ministry.

    6) Diluting the scope of the National Green Tribunal

    Reports suggest that the government is holding discussions to curtail the powers of the National Green Tribunal, the body that first hears all challenges to forest and environmental clearances before they can be passed up to the Supreme Court. This move might prove difficult, given that the tribunal is active, vocal and constantly in the public eye.

    The NGT is the only dedicated environmental court in the country, which has been formed as a result of India’s international obligation under the Rio Decleration. The court has been set up on recommendations of the Law Commission and orders by the Supreme Court that found the need for expert adjudication because environmental matters are complicated. “Any step to actually dilute it or reduce its power would be counter productive and will be in violation of our international obligations,’ Dutta said.

    7) New environmental committee set up to review laws

    Possibly the most far-reaching change that the new government hopes to bring about is an overhaul of the five main environmental laws of the country – the Environment Protection Act, the Forest Conservation Act, the Wildlife Protection Act, the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act. The environment ministry has set up a committee to review these laws and recommend amendments.

    “The mandate is not to strengthen the law to protecting the environment,” said Ashish Kothari of the environmental NGO Kalpavriksh. “It’s a very broad mandate, which given the economic climate, is to make it more investment friendly,” Kothari feels that any dilution of the Environment Protection Act, an overarching law that includes environmental impact assessment and coastal regulation zone notifications, will be particularly harmful.

    Dutta feels that the government will act to remove all criminal offences and replace them with civil penalties. “That is something that the government would be very keen to do because that is what the market overall wants,” he said. “It is essentially a pay and pollute system that would be coming in.”

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