Introduction

The capital city of Delhi is spread around a dry deciduous forestland known as Delhi Ridge, which is a part of the Aravalli hills, one of the oldest mountain systems in the world. This small forest tract remain the ‘green lung’ for more than 12 million people of Delhi and has a crucial role in pollution absorption, groundwater recharge and amelioration of environment. It is the only natural forest in Delhi and boasts a wide variety of plant, animal, bird and insect species.

The inability of Government’s agencies to keep the area from being used for developmental purposes as well as lack of awareness of local communities have degraded the ecological balance of the Ridge. A large portion of it is unprotected and malls, hotels, etc. have come up in the area often without the required environmental clearances. Active mining in the adjacent areas have modified the landscape. Habitations along the fringes of the Ridge have also exerted pressure on the biodiversity of the area.

The battle to save the Delhi Ridge and its forests is an ongoing one. As the Geological Survey of India puts it ‘the Ridge must be maintained in its pristine glory and no further infringements are permitted’.

This web-section documents the significance of Delhi Ridge for the people of Delhi, the problems affecting its survival and the concerted effort of the policy makers, civil society and the citizens of Delhi to restore its pristine glory through policies and campaigns.