If there is one thing that recent spate of cyclones and a pandemic have highlighted, it is that we need to heed to the clarion call of saving our environment. Our actions in the last few years have taken a huge toll on the environment leading to a rise in carbon emissions. In the name of development, a number of industries have been coming up after felling thousands of trees to clear large swathes of land. Since 80% of the earth's terrestrial carbon is above the ground and 40% is below, this is why forests are essential to lower increasing carbon emissions. It has been known that deforestation and forest degradation is the second biggest cause of global warming, contributing to 15% of greenhouse gas emissions globally. This is why to restore some bit of normalcy we need to act responsibly at a collective level. The first step to combatting the loss of our natural resources, especially forests, is through Afforestation.
Apart from industries, overpopulation has also led to our cities becoming more congested. More residential areas have had to be built after deforestation of land to accommodate more people. This is why we need to do our bit to give back to nature and restore the balance. Afforestation is a great way to do this because it is economical and easy. One community's efforts at planting trees can go a long way in creating a forest that can help in carbon sequestration and reversal of global warming. We, at Tata Power, have been trying our best to save nature though afforestation efforts for a long time.
Our efforts of Afforestation
In the last 40 years, Tata Power has planted saplings of fast-growing tree species that have been native to the Western Ghats of Maharashtra on hill slopes of the lake catchments.
In 1990, green cover mapping was also done which repeated in 2000 and 2010. In 1991, the afforestation programme was stepped up and have been continuing now. In the last one decade, our focus has been primarily on conserving rare, endangered indigenous local tree species found in the Western Ghats. In order to support biological diversity of eco-forest system and restore the habitat of selected fauna, these plants are nurtured in Tata Power nurseries in Lonavala.
Over 100 lakh saplings have been planted across different locations in the hydro-catchments of Maval and Mulshi. The main aim of our efforts is to ensure the areas remain green and picturesque attracting several species of animals, birds, and butterflies contributing to the ecological improvement of area. We believe that consistent efforts will help Western Ghats be a biodiversity hotspot across the globe.
At a local level, our gardens are maintained by us and over the years our colonies have reflected every employee's belief in sustainability and nature conservation. We have also followed the National Mission for Green manufacturing Index (GMI) that aims at protecting and enhancing India's forest cover. In line with this, a tree is gifted to each employee on their birthdays. All our stakeholders also get together to create awareness in society especially among school going kids across all divisions of Tata Power.
We have also in the past joined hands with other organisations like IUCN - CGPL, Bhartiya Vidyapeeth - for Green cover mapping (Hydro), Pratham Education - For teaching about Nature and Environment (Hydro), Terracon - For biodiversity study (Trombay), CIMFR - Engaged during Unit 6 biodiversity study (Trombay) and Ella foundation - Migratory Bird study (MPL).
While we have been making consistent efforts, we also understand that afforestation can be achieved by collective efforts of the government and non-governmental organisations as well. With a proper planning of appropriate sites, afforestation can be commercially viable solution of balancing the nature. The key to spreading awareness is by setting an example for the people. The Government has inspired us in many ways in this regard by encouraging tribal areas to plant medicinal plants, spices, tea, coffee, cane and bamboos, deltas to have mangroves and urban areas to have avenue plantations. However, change begins when everyone takes part in it and we hope that every house and every individual joins us in our efforts to save the planet. It is now or never.