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Green wall 

Context: The Centre is mulling an ambitious plan to create a green wall on North- Western part of India.

About the proposed wall:

  1. It will be a 1,400km long and 5km wide green belt from Gujarat to the Delhi-Haryana border, on the lines of the “Great Green Wall” running through the width of Africa, from Dakar (Senegal) to Djibouti, to combat climate change and desertification.
    If approved, this may turn out to be a legacy programme in India’s efforts to deal with land degradation and the eastward march of the Thar desert.
  2. India seeks replicate the idea as a national priority under its goal to restore 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030.
  3. The green belt may not be contiguous, but would roughly cover the entire degraded Aravali range through a massive afforestation exercise.

The need for and significance of the wall:

  1. A legacy programme like converting such a huge tract of land as a green belt in high-intensive land-degraded states will be great boost towards meeting India’s target.
  2. The idea of forming a green belt from Porbandar to Panipat will not only help in restoring degraded land through afforestation along the Aravali hill range that spans across Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi, but also act as a barrier for dust coming from the deserts in western India and Pakistan.
  3. The Aravalli range, which separates western India’s Thar desert from the relatively green plains to its east, has lost so much green cover that it is losing its ability to act as a natural barrier against the heat and dust that blows in from the west. The greener it remains, say ecologists, the less likely that the desert will expand into the rest of the Indian landmass.

Background:

India has, at present, 96.4 mha of degraded land which is 29.3% of the country’s total geographical area (328.7 mha).

The desertification and land degradation atlas of India, brought out by the ISRO in 2016, revealed that Gujarat, Rajasthan and Delhi were among states/UT where more than 50% of the total area was degraded land and those under the threat of desertification.

Current Affairs 2020

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