The Government of India has planned to create a 1400km long, 5km wide great ‘Green Wall of India’, running from Gujarat to Delhi-Haryana border (Porbandar to Panipat). It is modeled on the Great Green Wall of the Sahara and Sahel that was envisioned to pervade through the width of Africa, from Dakar (Senegal) to Djibouti (as of March 2019, 15% of the wall is accomplished).
The proposed project aims to provide a pragmatic and long-term solution to the issues of desertification, climate change, and water resource management. Amongst its umpteen advantages also lies the fact that it’ll act as a barrier against the dust and heat coming from the deserts in West India and Pakistan. The creation of the same had been one of the agendas of COP 14 of the UN Convention to Control Desertification (UNCCD), recently held in New Delhi. It will be a quintessential step to contribute to effectuate the end-goal of restoring 26 million hectares of degraded Indian land by 2030.
The viability and exigence of such projects become important fathoming the implications of the recent climatic changes. Selecting the Delhi-Gujarat belt gains paramountcy owing to the fact that the rapid expansion of Delhi and nearby regions has led to widespread deforestation in the region. Also, the loss of green cover of the Aravalli range has reduced its efficiency as a natural barrier against the heat and dust coming from the relative west. Besides this, the Desertification and Land Degradation Atlas of India brought out by the ISRO in 2016 revealed that Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Delhi were among the states and UTs where more than 50% of the total land area was degraded and was under the threat of desertification.
At a time, when the lungs of the country seemingly are devastated by a somewhat annihilation of the Aarey Forest, the plan of Green Wall apparently provides some relief. However, we still have to wait for official approval of the same. India has to go a long way, implementing the plan, once it is approved. If it comes off well, it will be India’s ever-lasting dot on the world map as an action pertaining to the concern for the global climatic change.