As we celebrate Earth Day today with various activities and events, it sets me thinking whether all this is actually making any difference? I feel humans are opportunistic and convenience-seeking creatures. These two factors rule every action & decision undertaken by us humans, in general. For an average person, environment, pollution, water shortage, shrinking arctic glacier, etc makes little sense. Man is not bothered about any of these issues unless he suffers directly. It’s all alien to him. An issue bothering me is the cutting of trees in the Aravali hills in Jaipur and elsewhere in Rajasthan. At one point in time, there was much dense tree cover. The Aravali hill range in and around Jaipur has predominantly Dhok trees also called Anogeissus Pendula Tree. It is a hardy tree and requires little care because it grows in monsoon forests.
Illegal cutting of trees is quite rampant in forest areas. As per the law, cutting trees in forest land is a punishable offense. There are no forest officials to check this activity, so the activity continues unhindered. The forest department must be aware but action on the ground is missing. Forest dept. Is not to be blamed solely, they do have their own issues and limitations i.e. shortage of staff, etc.
The modus operandi used in this process is fairly simple. A male ventures into the forest with an axe to cuts off the branches and trees. The wood is not picked up immediately rather it’s allowed to dry off for a few days in the forest itself.
Later on, a woman visits the forest to collect this dry wood. If someone objects they pass it off by claiming they are merely collecting dry wood for use in wood-fired stoves. This activity is rampant in the hills surrounded by villages.
There is a need to educate people in the villages about the repercussion of such an action. Greater participation of the public is required where the forest area is considered to be a public asset and anyone causing any damage to it should be socially outcast-ed. Actions like these bring in far better results rather than imposing fines.
At our level, let’s plant more trees and respect nature!
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