Why in news?
The Centre is planning to create a 1,400km long and 5km wide green belt from Gujarat to the Delhi-Haryana border.
What is it?
- It has been worked out on the lines of the “Great Green Wall” running through the width of Africa, from Dakar (Senegal) to Djibouti, to combat climate change and desertification.
- In India, Aravali has been identified as one of the key degraded zones to be taken up for greening under India’s target to restore 26 million hectares (mha) of its land.
- The Aravalli range, which separates western India’s Thar Desert from the relatively green plains to its east, has lost so much green cover that it is losing its ability to act as a natural barrier against the heat and dust that blows in from the west.
- The greener it remains, the less likely that the desert will expand into the rest of the Indian landmass.
- According to the desertification and land degradation atlas of India, brought out by the ISRO in 2016, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Delhi have more than 50% of their total area as degraded land and are under the threat of desertification.
- Hence the green wall of India is being planned from Porbandar to Panipat which will help in restoring degraded land through afforestation along the Aravali hill range.
- The overarching objective is to address the rising rates of land degradation and the eastward expansion of the Thar Desert.
- It will also act as a barrier for dust coming from the deserts in western India and Pakistan.
- Project is yet to get a formal nod.
- Africa’s Great Green Wall was launched by the African Union a decade ago with the support of many partners including UNCCD, World Bank and the European Commission.
- So far, work on nearly 15% of the wall is under way.
- In COP14 of UNCCD held in India, a similar initiative called Peace Forest Initiative (PFI) to develop forests in conflict areas between South and North Korea including the demilitarized zone was announced.
- The PFI has been inspired from the Peace Park between Peru and Ecuador.