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300 felled trees will cost ₹2.2 billion in products, including oxygen

Topics Covered: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

300 felled trees will cost ₹2.2 billion in products, including oxygen:


Context:

The Supreme Court recently took judicial notice of its expert committee report, which said the felling of 300 heritage trees to construct five Railway over-bridges in West Bengal will cost India a staggering ₹2,23,50,00,000 (₹2.2 billion).

How was this figure arrived at?

The 10-digit figure was arrived at by the committee after:

  • Calculating the products these trees would produce over 100 years of their natural lifetime.
  • This included oxygen, micro-nutrients, compost and bio-fertiliser, besides the trees being valuable members of the natural environment.

based on this, an individual tree parts with, free of cost, “products” worth ₹74,500 a year.

Suggestions made by the Court:

  1. Frame a new protocol by which road and highway projects ought to be cleared only after checking the feasibility of other modes of transport like waterways and Railways.
  2. In case a road project is inevitable, the value of each tree should be “built into the cost of the project.

Sources: the Hindu.