Chanakya IAS Academy Blog

Relevance and use of the article in UPSC prelims and mains examination: Dear aspirants as this topic is from paper:III and from the topic environment and ecology. So carefully read the outcomes of this issue and frame a mind set to always solve these type of problems, the issue is that Carbon emitted by heavy duty road transport is a major problem for commuters themselves and the people dwelling nearby Highways, also adding to the air pollution. One may be thinking that plantation along is just enough but it's not.

The issue :

  • National highways of India, spread across 1,00,089 kilometers of the country have potential of about 7.33 million tonnes of carbon sequestration but in reality, there is only 2.13 to 2.46 million tonnes of carbon is being sequestered, A study by students of Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal, the existing guidelines of National Green Highways mission to be used extensively and the 90% vegetation cover needs to be achieved for this.
  • Study is Conducted in collaboration with National Highways authority of India.
  • It is estimated, that how much green cover need to be increased so that they can take remedial measures for improving carbon sequestration capability of national Highways,
  • It is to be mentioned that of 142.04 million tonnes of carbon emitted by transport sector, 87% is estimated to be released from road transport alone.
  • Thus the National Green Highways mission was launched to in July 2016, to give green canopied highways to the commuters. Along with the view, the idea was also to sequester the carbon released on them.

The study is conducted in four agro climatic zones -

  • Trans-Gangetic Plain Region,
  • Eastern Himalaya Region,
  • Southern Plateau and Hills Region and
  • West Coast Plain and Ghat Region,
  • collection of primary data with respect to existing plantations, as well as, analysis of secondary data obtained from various ROs, PIUs and concessionaires. The analysis concentrated mainly on three carbon pools - Aboveground Biomass (AGB), Belowground Biomass (BGB) and, Soil Organic Carbon (SOC)."

Outcomes of the study report:

  • These four agro climatic zones with about 31000 kilometers of NHs and then extrapolated suggested that this amount to only 2.13 to 2.46 million tons of carbon sequestration in present date.
  • The other parts of study says included developing database native trees and species of different agroclimatic zones of India for plantation across Highways; global best practices for developing road side vegetation and developing framework for people's participation in same.

Recommendations in Study:

  • Include Use of GIS to identify and demarcate the project boundaries, statistical estimation of a number of sample plots to be laid out and cross-verification with high resolution satellite imagery from NRSA and "Trees Outside Forest" data from FSI, among others.
  • Recommendations to augment Carbon sequestration potential along NHs include mobilizing the ROs, PDs and field functionaries to enforce arboriculture /plantation clauses of existing NHAI contracts, regular workshops, comprehensively addressing the basic issues of land, water and protection.
  • The report concludes by drawing out scope for further research which includes use satellite remote sensing data, High-fidelity national carbon mapping, leveraging global carbon-funding arrangements, crowd-sourcing/funding and bio-sequestration using C4 plants, among others.

What is National green highway mission:

  • The National Green Highways Mission : This mission aims to provide a green canopy along 100,000km of highways and create jobs for 1 million youth.The government plans to spend an estimated Rs.5,000 crore, which is 1% of the road construction cost of Rs 5 trillion till 2019.
  • The mission and link it with the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) to boost the rural economy. Government also aims bigger philanthropic and industrial groups to chip in to help increase the green cover along Highways.

Plants which are need to be rooted:

  • Trees high on all parameters and are perfect to give an international look to Indian National highways include Neem, the basic air purifier named in Indian tradition, jackfruit, Bougainvillea, Brownea, Pipli, bottle Brush, calliandra, Gold mohur, Duranta, Ficus, Anjan and talura etc,
  • This include 475 species based on major parameters like its utility for people around, evergreen, flowering, crown shaped to give canopies and growth rate. Eucalyptus which consumes a lot of groundwater was suggested to be excluded from the list.

Conclusion :

  • National Green Highways mission which aims for plantation and maintenance of green buffer zone along highways. As sustainability is one of its parameter to make the initiative successful, which can be strengthened with people's' participation only.
  • The major requirements by people were, ecological, Economic and aesthetic value to have a farmers' friendly model. It also includes CSR participation, implementation of alley farming which means apart from crop trees can be grown in alleys, by dividing the farms and establishment of nurseries for easy availability of saplings.
  • Besides helping to reduce vehicular pollution, the Mission strives to help the local communities. Public participation was one of the part.

Question:

What is National green highway mission is it the solution to the problem created by Carbon emission by heavy duty road transport. If not discuss and mention the suggestions and Corrective measures?

Suggested points :

  • Discuss about National green highway mission.
  • Highlight the issue of Carbon emission by heavy duty road transport.
  • Earlier measures taken by government regarding this.
  • Discuss about new corrective measures
  • Problems in implementation.
  • Conclusion.

Link:http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/environment/pollution/plantation-on-indian-national-highways-is-just-not-enough-iifm/articleshow/54810937.cms

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