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Nurturing Delhi’s Green Cover to Take it to Healthier Heights

Swechha India swechhaindia

Published: 13 Jun,2018

The theme for this World Environment Day - Beat Plastic Pollution - really rallied for one of the biggest hazards to the environment today but equally pressing are the issues of rising temperatures and pollution in our capital New Delhi.

Though quite green, the city battles with the dual identity of one of the most polluted cities in the world. As per the latest forest report, despite an increase in 0.3% of total green cover in Delhi, the capital’s dense and moderately dense forest cover is facing a major threat.

In November 2017, severe levels of toxic air pollution led Delhi into an emergency situation as the level of PM 2.5 pollutants, which are the most harmful, reached more than 16 times the permissible limit of 60.

It’s sad but true that our beloved Delhi has faced a public health emergency situation for three straight years and hardly any efforts made by the government to improve the situation.

It falls on us to take things into our hands to help this city breathe. Together with the residents of New Delhi, Swechha plans to do this through their #MonsoonWooding initiative.

Civic engagement is the key to environmental action and advocacy - a wholesome of individual action and activism, sustainable lifestyles and public policy.

Through the initiative they aim to plant 5000 trees that have been felled down in the name of 'development' in recent years.

In fact, this campaign has had so much success previously. Swechha has managed to “fill the gap” for over ten years now.

Youth, media, government and civil society have been actively engaged by us on issues of social and environmental development. Our green efforts range from waste upcycling and environmental fellowship programs to river clean-ups and creation of urban mini forests.

They have created Delhi’s first urban mini forest at St Mary’s School, planted Faridabad's first Urban forest and created Gurgaon’s first food forest and butterfly garden with over 1500 saplings.

In 2016, Bitgiving too lent them a hand and over 2400 saplings were planted across the city in the form of forests, herb gardens and butterfly gardens.

For the last 10 years, Swechha has been maintaining a community park in Rock View Apartments in Vasant Kunj. In the year 2016, they formally adopted the park from the MCD and have ever since, been actively working on developing the space into an 'Airshed' that would act as the lungs of the community nearby.

We went on to google earth to see if there has been a change in green cover in the park and nearby areas and we were pleasantly surprised to see the difference. Not just the increase in the density of greens, it has had a considerable impact on the ambient air quality of our neighborhood, also by several estimates the ambient temperature would be at least 3-4 degrees less than the rest of Delhi.

Volunteers have played a major role directly and indirectly in making such a huge difference in the city! This year, they intend to keep the same energy and vibrance of the campaign going.

And they can’t do it without your support. This monsoon, adopt a tree or two and help bring our dense forest cover back to the city.

Help Delhi Breathe!