The World Plantation Day

Think before you plant any seedling lest it grow into a hazard

21st March

AHMAD KASHMIRI

 On 21st of March people are ‘supposed’ to celebrate yet another special day - The World Plantation Day. To mark this day the concerned quarters will conduct symposia and will take symbolic steps for plantation. But on the ground the major concerns of the issue remain unchanged as the day passes. Basically this is the season of plantation and people are busy in planting the different kinds of trees of commercial and environmental importance but the random and unchecked plantation of some foreign varieties has turned more a menace than a boom to the environment and the indigenous character and commerce of Kashmir. One of such varieties is the propagation of Russian Poplar in Kashmir. Pollen discharge commonly called as Frasse Fumbb (poplar cotton) has now become a severe irritation faced by people of Kashmir atleast for more than a month’s period in spring season when pollination takes place. Earlier we won't face such kind of pollen irritation from poplar trees. It is said to have arisen only for last about 30 years that people experience pollen irritation from poplar trees. Reason? Yes, the reason is the discharge from a particular variety of poplar, called popularly as Roosi Frass (Russian Poplar), which has been planted and grown vigorously in the valley during all these years, right from the day it was introduced in valley. The problem with we people is that we accept foreign things randomly without checking their suitability, applicability and the compatibility with the peculiar climate of Kashmir. I remember the day when people crowded in horticulture houses for obtaining these poplar plants, perhaps then distributed by Social Forestry department. Through Horticulture Dept. The other day the plants were distributed at a secluded place to avoid crowding. I only succeeded in obtaining one
bundle containing 15 to 20 plants each 1 to 2 inches in girth when an elderly familiar person pleaded my case (verbal recommendation) before the distributors. Now when these 'Roosi Safedas' are seen full grown everywhere and the pollen discharge has become a menace, I see people striving for these plants with same pace. We have not learnt any lesson whether this variety has benefitted us or proved harmful anyways. The pollen substance discharged from this particular variety is very troublesome and health hazardous. Experts reveal that this pollen material discharged from these specific poplar trees in large quantities causes irritation to lungs, throat, nose and eyes. Many people who are supersensitive to allergies prefer to remain indoors these days and use masks when going out of their homes or offices.
School children too find it nauseating and use masks in order to remain safe to some extent. The pollen substance discharged from Kashmir’s native poplar- Kaushur Frass, is not harmful and is discharged in negligible quantities as it is compatible with the environs of Kashmir-climate. The question whether this borrowed new variety of poplar has added to our economy or not or it has affected the native variety badly can be analyzed from the fact that this particular variety being non native to Kashmir has resulted In trouble as harmful pollen discharge irritates the body parts and the respiratory system of the human body causing sneezing, coughing, or more severe symptoms
like allergic rhinitis, allergic asthma and even allergic conjunctivitis.’
 Two years back, I read in a newspaper story that some civil society group was intended to take the matter of ‘hazards of Russian Poplar’ to the Court of Justice through a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in order to get rid of poisonous pollen substance by banning the plantation of Russian poplar trees in Kashmir. But this year we again see the rush and boom of planting the Russian Poplar again that is likely to become a big environmental menace in future and a threat to Kashmiri poplar. Till some civil society group Like Civil Society Forum of Kashmir (CSF) comes forward to relieve people from this trouble through a PIL, let us wake up on our own to say no to the plantation of health injurious plants and trees.
ahmadkashmiri@gmail.com

Lastupdate on : Wed, 20 Mar 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 20 Mar 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 21 Mar 2013 00:00:00 IST




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