Sunday, October 20

Port Trust kick-starts project to increase Kolkata tree cover

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On World Environment Day, Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) chairman Vinit Kumar planted a sapling and followed up with a brief speech in the Dhobitalao area of Garden Reach, to start a sustained initiative aimed at increasing Kolkata’s tree cover and biodiversity.

The principle underlying the initiative is intensive plantation using local species so that an entire ecosystem is created in a small area. The benefits of this approach have been demonstrated in pioneering work in Japan and include improved air quality, lower noise pollution and improved physical and psychological health, apart from microclimatic effects like lower temperature in the immediate neighbourhood.

Not only do such urban forests attract birds, but they increase the total biodiversity by bringing in smaller mammals and insects. The need is to use a mix of local plant species so that the need for external intervention is minimal and the ecosystem starts to take care of itself.

The initiative was conceived when environmental NGO PUBLIC approached KoPT and proposed that some pockets in the tracts of land owned by KoPT be set aside for such intensive plantation. Several plots were identified and plant species selected in association with the state. Plantation planning was carried out, including soil treatment and steps for ongoing maintenance.

Dhobitalao, a large barren area, served as the launch pad for the project and the rain on Wednesday watered the newly planted trees, signifying a good start to the initiative.

 

Source: Times of India

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