Snehil Sinha, Hindustan Times Gurgaon, August 07, 2013
Nearly 10,000 trees are axed every year to produce paper used for receipts at the three toll plazas around Gurgaon, claims NGO Haryali.
The lack of planning to cope with increased vehicular traffic over the years, meteoric development of Gurgaon, rise in population along with absence of consideration for sustainable transport seem to be major factors behind environmental degradation, according to experts.
According to a study conducted by Haryali around two years ago, the total number of vehicles passing through the three toll plazas — Delhi-Gurgaon border, Kherki Daula and airport toll — is approximately 3 lakh daily.
Of this, 90,000 vehicles have smart tags while the rest are provided with paper slips. If the receipts, which are issued to 2.10 lakh vehicles, are put together, it will run into 24,150 metre or 24.15 kms daily. This is close to the entire length of Delhi-Gurgaon toll road that is 27.4 kms. Calculated further, it amounts to around 8,814 kms every year.
“If we add the carbon footprints of the electricity used for printing the receipts, the impact is higher. The point is that we have been slaying trees without any consideration for the future.
It must be ensured that slips are provided on demand only. However, there is no one to ensure strict implementation at the Gurgaon toll plazas. If the operator cannot maintain the expressway in a sustainable manner and nearly 10,000 trees have to be sacrificed every year to run it, there is no reason why it should exist,” says Vivek Kamboj, environmentalist and founder of Haryali.
Activist Chetan Agarwal said, “An environmental impact assessment of the toll plaza can highlight the present scenario. If we look at the complete loss in terms of high pollution leading to higher healthcare costs and chopping of thousands of trees, the situation demands that the toll system be removed.”