JK Green Revolution: Forest Department’s Bold Moves for Environment
In a commendable move to combat plastic pollution and promote environmental sustainability, the Jammu and Kashmir Forest Department launched the “Plastic Free Forests” campaign. The initiative was inaugurated alongside the unveiling of a City Forest in Batote on the eve of the Back to Village Programme (B2V5) on November 16, 2023.
The campaign, spanning across the Union Territory, involves active participation from Gram Panchayats, Urban Local Bodies (ULBs), Paryavaran Mitras, local residents, and dedicated Forest staff. The primary focus is on cleaning up plastic and polythene waste from forest areas, particularly targeting popular tourist destinations like Patnitop, Batote, Sanasar, Pahalgam, Gulmarg, and Doodhpathri. These areas, witnessing a high influx of visitors, have been grappling with the adverse effects of single-use plastics on both the natural beauty and regeneration of the forests.
Shri Roshan Jaggi, IFS, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests & Head of Forest Force (PCCF & HoFF), J&K Forest Department, distributed certificates of participation to individuals who actively contributed to the cleanliness drives in Champa and adjoining areas during the B2V5 campaign. Addressing the gathering, he emphasized the importance of regular awareness campaigns to remove garbage and curb the use of single-use plastic items in forests, essential for maintaining the health and serenity of the natural environment.
Since the ban on single-use plastic in July 2022, the Forest Department has been relentless in its efforts. During the B2V program, Shri Roshan Jaggi inaugurated a City Forest at Gram Panchayat Champa in Batote, spanning an expansive 200 kanals along the Batote-Ramban Highway. This City Forest is set to offer various facilities to both local residents and tourists traveling along the National Highway, providing a recreational haven.
JKGreen Revolution: Forest Department’s Bold Moves for Environment
As part of the Green JK Drive, PCCF & HoFF reviewed the works undertaken by Champa Gram Panchayat, actively participating in a plantation program. Additionally, a high-level meeting was conducted with officers from Kishtwar, Doda, Ramban, and Udhampur Districts to assess developmental and forest protection-related projects. Shri Roshan Jaggi inspected the progress of rehabilitating over 600 hectares of highly degraded forest area along Nathatop–Sanasar road, a significant eco-restoration project under the CAMPA program.
Highlighting the importance of technology in conservation, the PCCF & HoFF appreciated the use of an improvised geo-textile technology for slope stabilization along the Batote–Ramban–Banihal National Highway. This technology has proven effective in stabilizing chronic erosion-prone vulnerable spots, such as Nashri.
The Forest Department’s commitment to environmental preservation was further evident as the winter planting program under the Green J&K Drive 2023-24 was inaugurated in the Shopian and Anantnag areas of the Kashmir Valley during the two-day visit. Shri Roshan Jaggi was accompanied by senior officers from Forest and allied departments during these field visits.
The Department’s holistic approach, encompassing plastic waste management, afforestation, and innovative conservation technologies, marks a significant stride toward a cleaner, greener future for Jammu and Kashmir. (ANR)