Mangaluru: The data of Global Forest Watch, which reveals that Karnataka lost 3,000 hectares of green cover between 2001 and 2017, has raised concern among environmentalists, who have long been demanding better protection of forests and trees in cities.
Going by the GFW report, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi are the worst hit kn Karnataka ,losing about 955 hectares and 857 hectares respectively in the years in question. National Environment Care Federation state general secretary, Shashidhar Shetty blames the unbridled development of the Western Ghats for the loss of green cover in the state.
"The Western Ghats is seeing hydel power plants and the Yettinahole river diversion, construction of resorts and homestays, dams and roads, which have taken away a lot of its forests," he laments. Also blaming over-exploitation of river water by farmers, he says they are responsible for the declining groundwater table , which in turn decreases its natural green cover.
With the green cover steadily declining, coastal districts of the state have been facing a severe water crisis for the last few years, he points out. Mr Shetty notes that things are an even worse in cities. "The greenery in cities is being cleared in the name of road widening, construction of footpaths, storm water drains and so on.. What is even more alarming is that the advertisement mafia is trying to kill or chop trees, which come in the way of its hoardings!" he regrets.