The authorities of the Kashmir region of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir have decided to cut 42,000 trees. The decision is taken in order to prevent the spread of deadly coronavirus in the region. However, not all trees but trees of a particular type are to be cut-down.
The order is passed to cut the female poplar trees. The decision is based on the local belief that poplars – which flower in late April and May – are responsible for allergies and spread respiratory infections. The variety of trees is very common in the region. They are found in almost every roadside in the Himalayan valley of Kashmir. The tree is also grown in commercial plantations everywhere.
Botanists say there is no scientific proof behind this belief. This is not the first time that these trees are been cut. In 2014 after a nod from Jammu and Kashmir High Court thousands of trees were cut. Additional district magistrate of Kashmir tweeted the copy of the order addressed to Social Forestry Department.
The environmentalists have been echoing their concerns against the decision. There is not a single study which has proved that seeds of female poplars cause respiratory infections, they say. Doctors too have not advocated the move. Doctors say that by producing oxygen, trees actually improve lung capacity of all animal life in their vicinity