Officials of the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) said Monday that they will be inserting a clause regarding Miyawaki plantation in consent-to-operate forms for industrial units in Ghaziabad. They added that state authorities have directed the measure in order to improve greenery as well as control air pollution and carbon emissions in the district.
Forests grown under the Miyawaki method – developed by Japanese botanist and plant ecology expert Dr Akira Miyawaki – improved carbon dioxide absorption, reduce noise and dust, and add more green surface area, as compared to monoculture plantation. According to officials, using this method, plants are supposed to grow 10 times faster and 30 times denser than traditional techniques, with an average plantation area of 150 square feet supporting 45 saplings.
“State officials have directed that Miyawaki plantation must be taken up by industrial units. From this year, we will be adding a new clause in consent-to-operate forms. Since land in the district is scarce, the units should contribute and their industrial area associations should take up the plantation. Some units have already started the work along with the municipal corporation,” said Utsav Sharma, regional officer of UPPCB.
To be sure, Ghaziabad was ranked as the second-most polluted, after Bhiwadi in Rajasthan, out of 6,475 cities across the world, in World Air Quality Report 2021, an annual air quality report prepared by Swiss organisation IQAir, released last week.
Ghaziabad is already listed among 16 non-attainment cities in UP in terms of high pollution levels. Cities are declared “non-attainment” if they do not meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for particulate matter (PM10) or nitrogen dioxide (NO2) over a period of five years. Also, according to the State of Forests 2021 report by the Forest Survey of India (FSI), there has been no increase in forest cover in the district since 2019.
Ghaziabad district is spread over 1,179sqkm, with a forest cover of 25.22sqkm (about 2.14%).
Officials of the Ghaziabad municipal corporation said that this season, they will plant about 100,000 saplings using the Miyawaki method.
“We planted about 30,000 saplings on different sites such as Sai Upvan, Vijay Nagar and Kavi Nagar industrial area’s Dayanand Park among others. Some big industrial players like Indian Oil and Tata Steels are also working with us,” said MS Tanwar, municipal commissioner.
“We have proposed another site for plantation where old legacy waste has been cleared near Shakti Khand in Indirapuram. We plan to plant about 50,000 saplings there. So, within a year, we will plant about 100,000 saplings using the Miyawakai method,” he added.
Meanwhile, industrial area association members lauded the initiative and said they would support it, but added that the availability of land might be an issue.
“There are some big patches of land that can be used for plantation but most of the time they are covered in garbage. For instance, in the BS Road industrial area, a seven-acre patch of land is covered in garbage. We have written to the authorities several times about this but to no avail. We will support the initiative financially but land availability is a major problem and could be resolved if agencies provide land,” said Anil Gupta, general secretary of Ghaziabad industries federation.
Members of Sahibabad site 4 industrial area said that they will ask UPPCB for more details.
“We are ready to support the initiative but land availability is a major issue. We have also planned such plantation in green belts of major roads like Saur Urja Marg,” said Mukesh Gupta, general secretary of the association.