Prakash Javadekar, the Union Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change yesterday on the World Environment Day highlighted the need of increasing the green cover and protecting wildlife.
He was quoted to say that, "Urban forestry is the new thrust area and we will be taking up massive tree plantation drive in as many as 200 cities and towns across the country". He had said that while attending a commemorative function that was organised in Mumbai at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
Urban Forestry Scheme is to be launched in Pune where 6,000 saplings will be planted on around 80 acres of land to create urban jungle. Mr. Javadekar observed that in most of our cities there are gardens and parks but no forests.
"There are many cities where the forest department has its land but there are no forest on it or are degraded. In these places through people's participation, we will establish urban forestry" he added.
Stressing that the green mission can succeed only through active people's participation, the Environment Minister urged the citizens to plant trees, take a selfie and share photographs on 'wedselfie.nic.in'.
Vulture Re-introduction Programme:
Drawing attention to this year's theme of the World Environment Day - "Go Wild For Life", Mr. Javadekar underlined government's resolve for protection of wild-life. He said the Government began this year's World Environment Day celebrations by launching Asia's first Vulture Re-introduction Programme at Pinjore in Haryana.
Mr. Javadekar said, vultures - the true Swachch Bharat volunteers - had become endangered since 1990, after eating carcasses of cattle which were injected with Diclofenac - a pain killer drug. "We had more than 4 crore vultures in the country, now not even 4 lakh are left" he said.
Stop trade in wildlife products:
Speaking about wildlife protection, Mr. Javadekar asserted that trade in wildlife products should be completely stopped. He said the Government has also initiated proactive measures for protection of wildlife and informed that 'shoot at sight' orders given to armed guards at the Kaziranga National Park in Assam had resulted in the death of 24 poachers.
He appealed to the people not to buy any product made from wild animal body parts. "If there is no market for the products, poaching will end automatically" he remarked.
The Minister, later symbolically burnt the confiscated wildlife products in the open, to send a message to end the wildlife trafficking.
Mr. Javadekar said with better understanding and awareness, man and wildlife can live in harmony. He said most of tribals, who live on the edges of forests, live in harmony with nature.