NEW DELHI: The environment ministry will launch an urban forestry scheme on June 6 which will involve afforesting degraded forest lands in and around 200 cities. On the occasion of World Environment Day, environment minister Prakash Javadekar said the forestry scheme will act against climate change by creating a carbon sink and against air pollution in cities. The scheme will include a "smriti van" service where any resident can plant a sapling in memory of his or her loved one by paying Rs 2000 to the state forest department.
The ministry is also considering starting tree surveys in cities which can be conducted by residents and college or school students. A plan is being worked to create small nurseries of about 1000 to 2000 plants in government schools where there is some extra space.
The urban forestry scheme will be launched in Pune where a 70 ha degraded forest land is made available. About 4,000 saplings of native varieties will be planted in a phased manner. "Delhi has forests but there are several cities with only gardens. All 199 corporations have been asked to send us details of space availability," said Javadekar who said that he hopes the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) bill will be passed in the parliament that will make available RS 35,000 crores to each state. A part of the fund can also be used for urban greening projects.
Apart from the new forestry scheme, Javadekar said waste management rules 2015 (for e-waste, biomedical waste, solid waste and plastic waste) have been uploaded on the ministry's website. "We urge people to send their comments on these draft rules," he said.
The ministry is also making arrangements for people to send their pictures of planting saplings to the ministry so that they can be uploaded somewhere, to give credit to people who will take part in the initiative. On June 5, PM Modi will kick off a plantation drive by planting a sapling at 7, RCR, cricketer ViratKohli and wrestler Sushil Kumar will plant saplings at ParyavaranBhavan in Delhi. Similar programmes will be held in most of the states led by sportspersons.