There is a need to increase forest cover in urban areas to create and enhance their lung capacities, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Friday at an event to mark World Environment Day virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the virtual celebration of World Environment Day 2020, themed as 'Nature and Biodiversity', Javadekar launched the Nagar Van or Urban Forests with 200 corporations and cities across India while urging people to actively participate and increase the tree cover in their areas.
"Our lifestyle is with nature. Rural areas have forests but urban areas don't have as much. We have decided to launch today the Nagar Van programme with 200 corporations.
"Urban forests will work as urban lungs. I appeal to people to work together and make it a people's movement. We will reward people who participate and make it a success. Plant trees and increase their number as they are oxygen tanks," the minister said.
Also present at the celebration was Minister of State for Environment Babul Supriyo, who said that the government has set a target of planting 145 crore trees this year.
"Tree plantation is a very important step. This year's target for tree plantation is 145 crores. We should take a serious pledge to protect forests and minimise the use of natural resources. Mother earth and nature have given signals which must not be ignored,” Supriyo said.
He also said these trying times can be overcome if everyone understood their responsibility towards nature.
World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated on June 5 every year.
In view of the prevalent situation due to COVID-19 pandemic, the ministry held virtual celebrations.