“Warje City Forest Initiative: Role Model for Nagar Van scheme”, says the Union at World Environment day, 2020 Celebration

The World environment Day is celebrated on the 5th of June every year to acknowledge the chosen theme for the event and execute major plans relating to environmental protection. The United Nation’s Environment Programme (UNEP) declared 2020’s World Environment Day’s theme as “Biodiversity”. As is the custom, the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEFCC) celebrated the virtual event in coherence to the current COVID-19 situation.

The Urban Forest Scheme

At the event, Union Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and Information and Broadcasting Minister Shri Prakash Javdekar, released a brochure regarding “Urban forest development“. He exclaimed that forests do persist in rural areas. Even major cities in the urban areas have forest areas. Yet, the nation needs more greenery for developing an oxygen bank via increasing tree plantation. Furthermore, he referred to the Prime Minister’s Speech at “Mann Ki Baat” to highlight the need for protecting the environment.

Mr. Javdekar also exclaims that Urban Forest development would ignite the plan to cloister ~2.3-3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide in equivalence to the number of forests in the nation. As a result, these forests will act as the urban lungs of the nation. The main focus of the celebration was on execution of the “Nagar Van scheme” by the Government.

Mr. Javdekar spoke about the sea change plan at Warje City, Pune. The Warje city Forest in Pune is a fine example of Private-Public partnership for urban forest development. Accordingly, he underlined the presence of CSIR initiative from 2015-17 in the project. The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority have graciously funded this project. Thus, it acts as a perfect role model for the Nagar Van scheme of the Government.

Insights of Warje City Forest Initiative

The Warje City Forest lies within the municipal limits of Pune city. It utilises up to 2.2 hectares of Forest land i.e. 9000 acres for its enthusiastic environment protection facilities. In its early stages, the area lied outside the municipal corporation limits. After considerable rise in population and urbanisation, it is now located at the core of the city.

Warje is rich in fertile soil and abundant water because it lies on the banks of river Mutha. It is admirable how the authorities converted 16.8 hectares of barren dump yard into an urban forest in such a short span of time. It is now a home for plants, mammals, butterflies, birds and reptiles in its natural surroundings. Moreover, it supports in absorbing ~129000 Kgs of CO2 and produce ~5,62,000 Kgs of Oxygen per year. The authorities supply water by 5 water ponds and use the surplus for future purposes.

Tree plantation should be a people’s movement“, says the Union.

Mr. Javdekar’s prominent appeal to the corporations is to regard Urban Forest Development as a peoples’ movement. To encourage public participation, he announced that Environment Ministry have announced prizes for “good city forests”. As a result, the Union also gave steps to increase green cover over the barren lands.

Furthermore, he stated certain important facts about biodiversity in the nation. For instance, 16% of human and cattle population create the diversity in the nation. However, only 2.5% of land resources and 4% water resources are remaining as of today. Astoundingly, the nation still produces 8% of biodiversity. This is quite an achievement for the nation. The Indian culture is greatly inclined towards nature and worshipping other living creatures. Morals and ethics towards worshipping trees, animals etc remain fresh and exorbitant even today.

“Every village has a forest named after a God in India. Moreover, nature protects those who worship nature”, says Mr. Javdekar.

What others had to say at the World Environment day virtual event

In the course of the event, Mr. Babul Supriyo, MoS, MoEFCC points out to the gestures of COVID-19 outbreak to remind us to preserve mother nature. He also outlines the need for controlling climate change by taking all possible efforts to reduce the use of natural resources.

With the assistance of the State government, MoEFCC plans to execute tree plantation to 145 crores through peoples’ movement.

According to Shri Sanjay Kumar, DG Forest & Special Secretary:

“A huge chunk of the population in India is settled in Urban areas. Thus, it should be our goal to cater and understand the essence of biodiversity in urban areas”.

Chief of Conservator of Forest in Pune, Shri Vivek Khandekar commends the Warje Forest initiative. He says that 25 acres of Warje has launched the initiative in 2015, to create urban Parks. The resources of the local people were used to convert these areas into recreational parks as ecological green spots. This has beautified the atmosphere and developed physical and mental wellness for the people. Similarly, it must be legitimately executed all across the nation. Notably, Dr. Vinita Apte, TERRE Policy Centre, Dr. Deshpande, CMD of Persistent Systems also praised the Warje initiative.

Some very influential companies like Tata Motors, President Foundation and TERRE Policy at Pune have joined hands to plant saplings and variety of trees and indigenous plants. In conclusion, project Urban Forest promises Ecological balance, Environment preservation and Social Development. Above all, the Nagar Van scheme is just the beginning of creating 200 Urban forests in the coming years.