Delhi, India: Green cover and water bodies almost equal to a quarter (23%) of Delhi”s area have been lost to development works and rabid urbanisation in the National Capital Region (NCR), urban areas surrounding Delhi, in just the past 13 years.
The first comparative satellite-based study of change in land use in NCR has shown that between 1999 and 2012, the region lost 32,769 hectares of green areas and 1,464 hectares of water bodies, both crucial for sustainability and quality of life in the region.
During the same period, the study found that built-up area in NCR grew by a massive 34%, bringing 95,803 hectares of land into the construction zone.
The study was conducted by the National Remote Sensing Centre at the instance of the NCR Planning Board (NCRPB). It”s most striking finding was the substantial loss of green cover across Delhi and regions of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan.
Of the total loss of 32,769 hectares of green cover, the maximum loss was recorded in NCR areas of UP (17,386 hectares), followed by Haryana at 8,716 hectares. ”Green” Delhi too lost 733 hectares of forest/green land during this period, according to the draft regional plan prepared by the NCRPB.
The other alarming indicator was unsustainable growth in NCR was the loss of water bodies. These reduced by 1,464 hectares. Again, the maximum loss took place in UP sub-region at 934 hectares. Commendably, the Haryana sub-region bucked the trend by increasing the area under water bodies by 261 hectares.