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Misplaced Sense of Activism for Aarey


“Few things are so deadly as a misguided sense of compassion.”

These words perfectly describe the current state of affairs in Mumbai. Several people are protesting about cutting of 2,700 trees in Aarey Forest. They are claiming “Mumbai would lose it’s lungs” ; “It’s an environmental disaster” ; “They are cutting down our forests”

There are even tweets by so called ‘intellectual’ Bollywood celebrities

Manoj Bajpayee’s Tweet
Diya Mirza who poses with gas guzzling SUV’s. See the similarity with Manoj Bajpayee’s Tweet
Pritish Nandy Tweet #Aarey
The well read Swars can’t even write her own tweets

See the similarity of tweets made by Manoj Bajpayee – Dia Mirza and Pritish Nandy – Swara Bhaskar? Is it coincidental? Or Paid? You decide. Who are we to pass a a judgement.

Let’s say they do really care about the environment, did not take money for these tweets and did it from the goodness of their hearts. Let’s crunch some numbers now.

Do you know how much CO2 a tree absorbs in a year? Any guesses? How much C02 a luxury SUV emits, which most of these celebrities use?

The 2,700 trees (proposed to be cut) will absorb 56 tonnes of CO2 in a year. However, a luxury SUV like Range Rover – which most of these Bollywood celebrities use, emits about 375 gms of CO2 per km. Assuming a person uses their car for 1,500 kms every month, the total CO2 emissions in a year would be 7 Tonnes. That means one celebrity creates CO2 equivalent of 300 trees. Yes. It would take 300 trees to compensate for one SUV. Now if only just 9 bollywood celebrities could’ve given up their luxurious SUV’s and moved to public transport, it would make up for the carbon absorption of all the trees whose felling they have been protesting. If moving to public transport is not feasible considering they are celebrities, how about moving to electric cars. Hyundai sell their electric SUV Kona in India now.

We are not even talking about their other habits of living in perfect temperature controlled environment all the time and their private jet trips. Those are probably a necessity for their jobs. Moving to electric cars would not affect their jobs negatively. Just their public image of stepping down from the latest model of luxury SUV. Alternatively, if they have power to influence people, why not encourage them to do plantation drives rather than go to these protests?

We have another alternative – Film City. It is built on an area about 10 times that of proposed for Metro car shed. How about reclaiming part of film city and planting the trees there? None of these woke celebrities have offered this solution.

Why metro project is important.

Now that we have established that the fake concerns for the environment, let’s turn out focus on the importance of the metro project.

We do agree that pollution and global warming is a huge issue. We absolutely have to address it and we cannot delay acting on making the changes.

One of the best ways to reduce pollution and per capita CO2 emissions is by using public transportation. But for people to use public transportation, we have to build it first. If you see the map of the Mumbai Metro Line  – 3, it connects important business districts, the airport and many educational institutions and some of the most densely populated parts of Mumbai. It would act as lifeline for Mumbai, a metropolis cracking under the humungous load of people from all across the country. Also, it is the first and the only underground metro line in Mumbai

Mumbai Metro Line 3

Any delay in Metro Line 3 would release 6,800 tonnes of carbon annually into Mumbai’s atmosphere from the vehicles that occupy the city’s roads due to non completion of Metro Line 3. Everyday that these paid, misguided activists delay the project, they are causing emissions of 18 Tonnes of CO2 in the air. If these protests delay the project even by 4 days, the carbon foot print of all the 2,700 trees , they are fighting for would be added to the problem of global warming.

“But trees have another benefits than just removing CO2”.

Yes they do. They also remove dust, are beautiful to look at and provide shade. So why not plant some trees around your housing society?

Metro too has other benefits than just reduced carbon foot print. It would reduce pollution, reduce congestion on road, reduce commuting time and provide a means to working class people to travel the length of Mumbai for work.

2,700 people die in Mumbai locals every year. These lives can be saved.

“There are alternatives”. Yes. But at what cost? Underground depot would cost almost six times more and take three times longer to build.

If you think there is another location for metro shed, please send us the location. It has to be feasible and connected to the metro line. We would make an appeal to the government to shift the shed there

Here are our suggestions and options we can provide

  • All the activists make better use of their time and start planting and taking care of saplings. Mumbai Metro has already planted 24,000 trees and distributed 25,000 saplings. How about taking care of them?
  • Flimcity is not too far from the proposed Shed. Extend the metro till there, reclaim 10% of the film city and build the shed there.
  • Everyone who cares for the environment, start using public transport, stop using plastic, stop reading any books or newspaper as they too come from trees.
  • Give up meat. Meat industry is a huge contributor to green house gas emissions. Gases which are heating up the planet.

Unfortunately these things are difficult to do require efforts and none of these activists would agree to it because it would involve them to actually work and make a difference rather than just rant and make chaos. It easy to cut trees, make paper out of them to file petitions in court. It is more difficult to build infrastructure for benefits of the million.

Some Data Inputs taken from:

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