Trees, “Oxygen Cess” Part Of Madhya Pradesh University’s Pandemic Plan


Students of the university will also be asked to plant trees and conserve them. (Representational)


To encourage the plantation of more trees, a university in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain is planning to impose a voluntary “green cess” on people who visit its campus every day for exercise. The reason: “To tackle the lack of oxygen in case of future pandemics,” according to its vice-chancellor.

The Vikram University will ask the people to either pay the tax or plant saplings in the campus and conserve trees under its “green cess” policy.

According to vice-chancellor Akhilesh Kumar Pandey, “people in the country have realised the importance of oxygen after facing its shortage during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic… It (planting of more trees) is a beautiful step of natural oxygen industry.”

Several states across India witnessed a shortage of medical oxygen as Covid cases increased amid the deadly second wave after April this year. Medical oxygen, which is the primary treatment for patients who suffer severe COVID-19 symptoms, is administered through oxygen concentrators, cylinders or ventilators. There is no research yet to prove that trees can act as replacement for liquid medical oxygen to tackle diseases.

However, the Vikram University’s vice-chancellor said that “artificial oxygen is only available for a short duration and highly expensive, whereas a small plant gives at least 750 litres of oxygen.”

“There is a need to understand the difference between natural and artificial (oxygen) industry,” he said.

“There should not be any shortage of oxygen, no matter the scale of pandemics in the future,” Mr Pandey added.

He said students of the university will also be asked to plant saplings and conserve them, by way of which they will get extra credit when they pass out of the college.

“Our campus is huge, almost 350 acres, where saplings are to be planted. A person consumes 7-8 liters of air per minute, which contains 20 per cent of oxygen. In this way, each person takes 550 litres of oxygen per day and a plant produces 750 litres of oxygen in a day.”

He said around 5,000 to 7,000 people come either to walk, jog or cycle inside the campus area during morning and evening hours. “These people will be requested to give some financial help for planting more trees and conserving them or they will be requested to plant a tree and conserve it,” Mr Pandey said.

The tax will be voluntary and “we won’t stop anybody from coming,” he added.

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