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21st March is celebrated as International Day of forests and 22nd March is World Water Day
Why am I combining the two you might ask?
It is because trees and clean water are interdependent on each other.
More than half of the drinking water in US originates in forests.
Water is the 2nd most valuable resource on the planet.
An average tree breathes out 250-400 or more gallons of water in one day.
India’s groundwater levels are depleting at unsustainable rates, and reports suggest that 40% of India’s population will not have access to drinking water by 2030.
Forests capture and store water. They can and have been a source of water management and filtration for years, and if the forest cover is under threat, it will directly affect our water supply. Similarly, clean water is necessary for forest rejuvenation and survival of various animals and birds that call forest their homes.
Nearly 50% of a tree is made of water. The plants release the water slowly in air as oxygen and water vapor. Forests act as sponges by collecting and filtering rainfall and slowly releasing them into streams, rivers and ground. This interdependency is important for the ecology, and a breakdown here will be catastrophic for human civilization.
International Day of Forests–A path to recovery and well-being
This year’s theme on International day of Forest is Forest restoration as a path to recovery and well-being. If we focus on forest restoration in sustainable ways, we will help the complete ecology and work towards restoring the balance in the circle of life. As the UN and world leaders are talking about climate change, there are a few things that we can do on an individual level to help improve the forest health of our country.
- Work with rural areas or support NGO’s that are helping villages practice sustainable ways like restricting wood extraction from forests, planting local and medicinal trees, focusing on water conservation works, planting low water consumption crops, using organic farm practices, etc.
- Helping villages work with the forest authorities to get additional incomes like bee farming or know about schemes around sustainable forestry and earning.
- Create urban forests with local NGO’s improving ground water levels and protect the biodiversity of the area.
- Take part in plantation drives or organize plantation drives with a local variety of plants, near rivers and your residence. Plant a tree to mark a special occasion.
Reason why we should be serious about fresh water and forests
We have only 2% of fresh water supply and nearly 80% of the world species are dependent on them. If humans continue to pollute water or stop naturally flowing water then it will directly impact the ecological balance of the area and could drive many species to extinction. Building excessive dams and barrages in the eco-sensitive rivers effect the migration patterns of the fishes and other migratory birds and animals. Polluting rivers will endanger the dissolved oxygen levels in the water and impact the species living in the water and those that depend of the water for survival.
Things that we can do to conserve rivers and fresh water across India
NGO’s like Jevitnadi are doing a wonderful job in raising awareness in urban areas and growing their network of volunteers to spread the word and clean rivers. Take action in your city and help local authorities clean the rivers.
- Switch to natural and organic products that will reduce water pollution. Use organic fertilizers or compost instead of chemical fertilizers for your plants.
- Be aware and raise your voice against untreated and sewage water being released in the rivers.
- Organize local meet-up’s and discussions about clean water solutions. Help raise awareness around you.
- Do not throw garbage or Nirmalya in the rivers.
- Do not use piped water to clean vehicles. Use buckets of water as and when necessary.
- Push for water recycling and water treatment plant in your society. Reuse the water for landscaping and flushes.
- Conserve rainwater with rainwater harvesting projects.
- Switch to eco-friendly Ganesh Visarjan, holi and other festivals.
- Reduce eating meat as water needed for a 300 gm piece is anywhere between 1100 to 4500 litres depending on the kind of meat you eat.
India has had some successes in terms of revival of Sabarmati Riverfront and Daryavati river, however we are a long way away from celebrating. Clean Ganga and rejuvenation of other major rivers in the cities will be the least that we as a county can do and contribute towards providing clean water for all. The time to start is now and the place to start is from our homes and communities.
This post is written as part of the CauseAChatter with Blogchatter