Delhi’s getting a Great Wall too, against dust storms

  • What: The ‘wall’ will be made of 31 lakh native trees encircling Delhi to shield it from frequent dust storms from Rajasthan. The natural barrier is to come up along Delhi’s border with Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. DDA, forest department and the municipal corporations of Delhi, NMDC and CPWD will carry out the project.
  • How: Tall and dense trees like pilkhan, goolar, mango, mahuaand other native tress have been chosen for this scheme. Of all these trees, pepul, which releases oxygen round the clock, would be the most used in the scheme.
  • Why: Trees can prevent dust particles from rising due to low atmospheric pressure and stop them from condensing at a few metres above the ground.
  • When: The trees will be planted over the next couple of months and nurtured over two years. A survival audit would then be conducted from March 2019 to March 2020.

This isn’t an absurd idea; such a project has been successfully carried out before:

  • In the 1930s, US president Franklin Roosevelt ordered a ‘Great Wall of Trees’ to counter the Dust Bowl that ravaged the farmlands.
  • 220 million trees were planted in a 1,300-mile zone bisecting the Great Plains from Canada to Texas. It worked: besides preventing dust storm, the ‘wall’ also provided habitat for birds and other wildlife, and protected roads and railway lines from drifting snow in winters. Much of it still stands.

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