How Much Forest Does a Man Need

By Ankit Chandra

If you flew over Delhi around june 2010, one thing would be kinda clear. That you couldn’t see anything clearly at all from the window. Well, part of it could have been because most of the city was dug up for Commonwealth games, but there was a major part ascribed to plain dust in the air. Maybe it was due to scorching summer and lack of humidity in the air too.

But then the question comes, if there was so much dust in the atmosphere, wouldn’t everyone be inhaling it? And with lax industry laws, there of course are many pollutants in the air too! And all of them simply, pretty much forcibly just get into your lungs!

The next question is why are people not doing anything about it? Well, I think that’s because people, mostly, are not empowered to do anything beyond their own backyard. And the people who are empowered, are either so dumb to not see the issue, or plain and simple ignorant, or just too busy minting money to see that this effects everyone! including the PM and the President. Well, only when they are out in the open…

So then how do we actually see how bad the picture is? For one, every one could take a flight in to Delhi, which, for obvious reasons isn’t the most economical way of conducting a study. So I thought I should do the next best thing. Take pictures from high above and paste them here.

Thanks to google maps and jing technologies, I was able to put these pics here:

lucknow_googlemapsLucknow, India

hyderabad_googlemapsHyderabad Suburbs, India

nerul_googlemapsNerul, Navi Mumbai, India

noida_googlemapsNOIDA, India

schaumburg_googlemapsSchaumburg, US

niceParis_googlemapsNice, France

tootingLondon_googlemapsTooting, London, UK

I tried to compare apples to apples by keeping the resolution level the same. I also tried to consider only what I thought were suburbs, since they seem to have a better control over land and hence tree cover.

What is clearly visible is that number of trees in the captured area are faar less for Indian cities, no matter where they are, when compared to, suburbs in US or Europe.

This is not a research study, so I am sure the sample data I am looking at would be flawed after a point. But I definitely wanted to put up some comparison between what Indian cities are doing, vs the ‘better’  cities of US/Europe. Also, since these are suburbs, in both cases (India or others) they were settled down into, rather recently.

We all have known that tree cover is said to be beneficial for MANY things, including water table restoration, reduction in free dust just flying around in the air, reducing average temperature of the areas, and keeping the land healthier in general.

Given this, I wanted to hit at at least one problem. That of awareness in people in India about the shoddy state of their green cover. Only 12% of land mass in India is covered with forests, as compared to 33% in the US, 30% over the world, 34% in Canada, 22% in China and so on.

I think the green cover is especially more important in city areas given the concentration of pollutants in general.

Maybe we should start from where we do have control. Our backyard. And then move up from there. Otherwise the average life expectancy in our cities will continue to be low and maybe drop lower with new industrialization and growth happening…

1 thought on “How Much Forest Does a Man Need

  1. Pingback: Indian Cities:Some General Characteristics | Jugraphia Slate

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