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 ranges 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 plants, animals, birds and insects.
The inability of government agencies to keep the area from being used for developmental purposes and the lack of awareness of local communities has degraded the ecological balance of the Ridge. A large portion of it is unprotected. As a result, malls, hotels, etc. have cropped up in the area often without the required environmental clearances. Active mining in the adjacent areas has 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. The Geological Survey of India has stated that ‘the Ridge must be maintained in its pristine glory and no further infringements are permitted’.