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Dia Mirza: Can’t get away with axing old trees, using afforestation

Updated on: 05 March,2024 05:38 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Mohar Basu |

Dia, who recently attended UN Environment Assembly in Kenya, on how Mumbai needs to actively increase green cover to lower AQI

Dia Mirza: Can’t get away with axing old trees, using afforestation

Dia Mirza (left) at the afforestation event in Karura Forest, Nairobi

Last week, Dia Mirza, India’s Goodwill Ambassador for United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Secretary General’s Advocate for Sustainable Development Goals, attended the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) in Kenya. The actor-producer was joined by Kenya’s First Lady Mama Rachel Ruto, and Inger Andersen, executive director of the UNEP, at an afforestation event at Karura Forest in Nairobi. 

Mirza says that at the assembly, India sponsored a resolution on sustainable lifestyle. “Member states recognised the potential of behavioural changes in contributing to the [goal] of sustainable development. At UNEA, governments also passed a resolution on promoting regional cooperation on air pollution to improve air quality globally.” Poor air quality has been a major discussion in India over the past few months. In Mumbai, the air quality index (AQI) reached as high as 400 in January. Emphasising the need to increase our green cover, she says, “It is our avarice and ignorance that [makes us believe] that by afforestation, we can get away with axing old trees and destroying biodiversity. This is far from the truth. Urban spaces need more green cover. It is critical to protect existing biodiversity. New plantations cannot deliver what old forests can.”

Another oft-discussed question is: are we doing enough to save the planet in the post-COVID world? The actor believes that awareness has grown about the crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. “COVID brought a mindset change, especially in individuals to redirect their over-consumptive lifestyles towards making conscious choices. More people are connecting with nature. Wish I could say the same about big companies and governments.”

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