India, China boost greenery over the past 20 yrs: NASA

Trend in Annual Average Leaf Area. Credits: NASA Earth Observatory

Amid all the dreadful updates on pollution and deforestation that people read on a daily basis, here is some good news for the environmental enthusiasts out there.

NASA has been monitoring the Earth's verdure using two satellites over the past 20 years. Observations over the past two decades have led to the conclusion that the Earth is greener than it was back then. 

Majority of the credit goes to India and China for their intensive agriculture practices and focused tree-planting projects.

Although both countries are known for their “overexploitation of land, water and other resources”, they have contributed to large scale plantation and afforestation programmes leading to a greener environment, the finding said.

China, India dominate in greening of the planet. Credits: NASA Earth Observatory
China, India dominate in greening of the planet. Credits: NASA Earth Observatory

Nature Sustainability, a journal, published a recent study by NASA, which compared satellite data from the mid-1990s with the present scenario, used high-resolution images which reveal the increase in the green belts.

At first, it was believed that the increase in the Earth's greenery was due to climate change but after in-depth research of the subject, NASA found that it was largely due to human effort.

India, China lead in greening due to human activity. Credits: NASA Earth Observatory
China, India lead in greening due to human activity. Credits: NASA Earth Observatory

The study noted that the greening was excessively limited to India and China. If the greening was due to a change in climatic conditions, the increase in the vegetation would not have been restricted to just two countries.

And the best part? India stands above the rest of the countries, and continues to break all records, the study noted.

'Go Green' initiatives in India:

The plantation programmes across the country are due to initiatives taken up by many government and non-government organisations.

In many instances, community participation has proved to be a key factor for the success in afforestation and agroforestry.

NGOs and schools have tied up in many states to educate youngsters about the importance of a greener environment, judicial use of non-renewable resources and sustainable development. 

Here are some NGOs that have contributed to extensive plantation over the years:

1. Green Yatra

Green Yatra, an NGO whose only objective is to create a green Earth and make it a better place to live in for the future generations, has planted 12,000 trees in 1 acre.

It is creating a dense forest in the middle of Mumbai, according to a report by The Better India. The organisation is on a mission to plant 10 crore trees by 2050 with a set target of 10 lakh trees to reach in the present year.

2. SayTrees

SayTrees, a Bengaluru-based NGO committed to creating urban and rural forests and other sustainable development projects, has planted 2,38,871 saplings and is planning to plant more every year according to their website.

They also conduct plantation programmes across other states such as Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

3. Project GreenHands

Project GreenHands, an initiative of the Isha Foundation in Tamil Nadu, aims to enable sustainable living by preventing and reversing environmental degradation.

The foundation focuses on people's participation and seeks to plant 114 million trees across the state. The organisation states on its page that they have successfully planted 28 million saplings since 2004.

4. Siruthuli

Siruthuli, a Tamil Nadu-based NGO, has nurtured over 6 lakh trees in and around Coimbatore, according to The Better India.

The organisation has achieved a lot in a span of 7 years and also concentrates on water resource management, afforestation, waste management and awareness programmes in the state.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had also presented Narendra Modi with United Nations Champions of the Earth Award during his visit to India. Modi had also expressed his commitment to climate action. 

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India, China boost greenery over the past 20 yrs: NASA

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