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Operation Green Canopy: J&K to plant 2 crore saplings 

Srinagar, July 10: The Jammu and Kashmir administration has initiated various measures to protect the natural ecosystem, aiming to plant over 2 crore saplings in the current fiscal year.
To conserve the biological diversity for environmental security and economic prosperity of the people of J&K, the J&K Forest Department has initiated several measures across the UT of J&K to protect the natural ecosystem, including forests, wetlands, alpine pastures, etc.
A senior official stated that 180 lakh plants were planted inside forests and on vacant lands during the last financial year. “This year, over 2 crore saplings are being planted across Jammu and Kashmir,” the official added.
“The government has been turning afforestation into a people’s movement through the active involvement of PRIs and ULB representatives, police, paramilitary, armed forces, school and college students, NGOs, eco-clubs, and citizens,” the official said.
The official also mentioned that the protection of biodiversity has been one of the top priorities of the Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha-led administration.
The government has constituted Biodiversity Management Committees Panchayat-wise to conserve medicinal plants, protect forests, promote afforestation activities, and conserve water resources like wetlands.
Campaigns like ‘Plastic Free Forest,’ ‘Paid Lagao Beti Ke Naam,’ ‘Van Se Jal, Jal Se Jeewan,’ and ‘Mission Life’ have been launched across all districts of the UT of J&K to protect natural resources, conserve water bodies, and raise awareness about issues such as climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss.
In recent years, Kashmir has experienced unusual weather events attributed to global warming.
To combat these challenges, the government plans to create green spaces near urban areas. This initiative aims to improve the environment by reducing pollution, mitigating noise, and providing cleaner air to residents.
“It will help to improve the environment of cities and towns by mitigating pollution, reducing noise, and providing cleaner air,” a senior official of the Forest Department said.
Currently, forests in Kashmir are situated about 20 kilometers away from cities and towns.
Kashmir, with its abundant natural resources and lush green forests, offers an ideal opportunity to increase forest cover and mitigate pollution levels in the Union Territory. This move reflects the government’s commitment to addressing environmental concerns and enhancing the quality of life for its residents.
Experts say trees absorb harmful pollutants like carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides, while releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. As a result, the air quality in the city begins to improve.
“Trees are excellent at capturing and storing carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas responsible for global warming. The urban forest becomes a natural carbon sink, helping to mitigate the effects of climate change,” says Adil Nabi, a research scholar at SKUAST-Kashmir.
He said the urban forest provides shade and reduces surface temperatures, making the city more comfortable for residents and decreasing the need for energy-intensive air conditioning.

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