Depleting tree cover, pollution scaring off bird species from city
New Delhi, DHNS; Environmentalists express concern over insensitive development projects which have decreased green cover in Delhi and adversely affected the bird population.
According to the Forest Survey of India (FSI), south Delhi lost 0.32 sq km of green cover, south-west Delhi lost 0.65 sq km, taking up the total loss to 0.97 sq km in last five years.
“Areas such as Malviya Nagar, Hauz Khas, Saket and Dwarka (south-west Delhi) witnessed high amount of construction work in the form of new flyovers and Metro, which led to the loss of forest cover. Moreover, encroachment has led to demolition of native vegetation,” said Pia Sethi, fellow with the forestry and biodiversity department in The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).
Sethi added bird-watching has become the fastest growing hobby in Delhi but bird species have reduced on a large scale.
“There were 500 species in Delhi at one point of time. This made the city the world’s second bird richest city after Nairobi. But cutting down of trees in the name of development will take away this tag from the Capital. The number of species has reduced to almost half over the years,” she said.
Yogesh Gokhale, another fellow from TERI, said there are few places in Delhi which are diversely green.
“To attract more birds we need to plant more fruit-bearing trees. Even small plants are essential to maintain urban diversities,” he said.
Experts believe that Delhi’s changing landscape is not bird-friendly.
“For instance, an electricity thermal plant has been built adjacent to the Okhla Bird Sanctuary which has the capacity of endangering some species. Moreover, pollution load from industries, bio-medical waste and mobile towers are only reducing the number of birds in Delhi as these projects are designed against their habitat,” said Gopal Krishna, convenor Toxics Watch Alliance.
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