Srinagar, April 3 (GNS): A lawyer has filed an application in Jammu and Kashmir High Court, seeking direction to the government for felling of particular specie of poplar trees “for being potential carrier of coronavirus.”
The lawyer, Shafqat Nazir, told GNS that he has moved an intervention application in public interest litigation being heard by the High Court, presently via video conferencing, regarding the coronavirus spread.
“There is a menace of a particular breed of poplar trees (commonly known as Russian poplars, though a misnomer) in J&K, particularly Kashmir valley which produces pollen, seeds with lot of cotton fluff, seed hairs which has become a seasonal health hazard,” Nazir says. The pollen along with the cotton fluff gets off the trees from last week of April thereby dispersing throughout the area within the range of more than 500 meters, affecting health of people mostly elderly and children.
The pollen with cotton fluff can be seen in air, ground, water bodies, cars, homes and almost everywhere.
“Poplar is a fast growing, weak wooded tree that lacks ornamental flowers and fruits. The experts have identified a particular female variety of poplar trees with botanical name ‘Populus deltoides’ that produces pollen with lot of seed hairs, fluff which is highly allergenic,” he says.
The pollen and seed hairs besides being allergenic and source of chest diseases are also the potential carriers of Corona Virus, he says. “Every year doctors find themselves treating a large number of patients, especially elderly and children with complain of sore throat, cold, cough, mild to high fever and skin rashes. The pollen and seed hair enters the mouth and nose of a person making that person cough and sneeze frequently,” he says. If a person is COVID-19 positive, he says, the virus would easily transmit from one person to another through the flying pollens or cotton fluff. “The allergy induced by pollen and cotton fluff is also likely to hamper the effective recovery of COVID-19 positive patients who may otherwise have good chances of recovery,” he says.
In 2015, the Court passed directions for cutting down of all pollen producing poplar trees but on ground only few hundred such trees came to be chopped off, he says. “Because of inaction of the government people have since then planted more number of poplar trees than the authorities have cut given the fast growth of such tress and consequent monetary benefits,” he says. Resultantly, the poplar trees can be found in every nook and corner particularly in rural areas. “In view of COVID-19 pandemic, it has become imperative to start a fresh drive for felling of such trees after proper identification,” he added. (GNS)