Until recently, environmental issues along Highways
and Motorways which are conventional arteries linking northern section
of the country with the southern, did not figure as a potential problem,
impairing the present and future generations both in the rural and urban
areas. Today, they occupy a prominent place in NHA's policy Planning
Agenda and are perceived as an integral part of broader dynamics of
economic growth and social advancement. In a classical community
development theory, greening of landscape otherwise lying un-productive
is essential not only for the liquidation of ugly slums but also for the
improvement of rural-urban relationship. Once established, these green
belts/spots will become areas of outstanding beauty and cultural
heritage which will provide important habitat for a variety of mammals,
birds and reptiles characteristics of the arid sub-tropics of South
In the past, planting of trees for comfort and shade
was regarded as an act of piety and benevolence by the Muslim Rulers.
Who can forget the magnificent Chinar avenues of Parachinar and poplars
of Abbottabad, and Swat in real blossom.? A place is enchanting not just
because it has modern multi million rupees highways but because it has
trees and blossoms carefully planned as part of the general architect.
The mad rush of urbanization and construction of
fabulous buildings and highways, have deprived the common man of the
beauty of nature. No doubt the construction of more and more roads will
make places of beauty accessible for the lovers of nature and tourists
but to what avail if they have to drive through verdure-less dreary
monotony of tarmac. The best way to keep contact with nature is to drive
through green belts along our highways/motorways and keep our soul
energized with enchanting beauty of nature, which trees alone possess.
Creation of plantation along highways/motorways is a
difficult and complicated task. It not only requires a complete
knowledge of local conditions, Silviculture of species, their behavior
under different climatic conditions and techniques of their raising but
also an extreme sense of proportion and an artistic eye. The search of a
methodology for the greening of country's landscape will therefore, has
to be based on an understanding of the complex interaction between the
man and his shrouding environment.
The greening of highways and
motorways will focus on the following:
of metalled road surface from sudden and extreme exposures to heat and
cold so as to prolong the life of the highways/motorways, reduces its
maintenance cost and provide better surface for the vehicles.
of road berms by shady trees. They will make them more stable by keeping
moist due to drop in evaporation losses and reduction of dust.
comfortable travelling to millions on move on our highways/motorways and
protect them from scorching summer winds.
iv) They will
screen off ugly and undesirable views along the Highways/Motorways and
improve the aesthetic value of the landscape.
camouflage for deployment of the troops in the event of a national
emergency against possible attacks by the hostile air crafts.
avenues, would help to increase the value of the adjoining property and
attract permanent residents from far flung areas.
avenues should tend to accentuate the curves on Highway/Motorways and
relieve the travellers of the boredom and monotony of bare road
avenues should provide attraction for the pedestrians and animals
reducing the hazard of accidents.
Highways/Motorways plantations on maturity will provide timber and
firewood which shall add to the economic benefit accruing from other
wise waste lands.
RASHID MAHMOOD RANDHAWA
Mr. Randhawa is currently working as Consultant (Afforestation)
with National Highway Authority to organize NHA massive Tree Plantation
programme along National Highways and Motorways covering about Nine
Thousand (9000) kilometers. He has over 43 years of experience in the
fields of Forestry, Environment, Urban Landscape development and
maintenance. Mr. Randhawa has worked in progressively important
positions like Director General (Environment) CDA, Chief Conservative
Forest (Punjab) and General Manager (Afforestation) NHA. He acquired
professional experience, qualifications and completed advance training
courses from US, Japan China and other countries.