Amid soaring of COVID-19 cases in Jammu & Kashmir, a committee of experts has opined that fluff of poplar trees is unlikely to carry the virus, which has wreaked havoc across the globe.
In its report, the panel comprising from different subjects including trees, respiratory medicine has suggested that it is unlikely that that the fluff of poplar trees will carry COVID-19 virus as the droplet size allows the droplets to fall on ground immediately.
“The COVID-19 spreads through droplets and its transmission can occur by direct contact with infected persons and indirect contact with surfaces in the immediate environment or objects used on the infected persons. Hence, it is unlikely that the fluff of poplar trees can carry the COVID-19 virus as it is not airborne and the droplet size allows the droplet to fall immediately on the ground,” reads the report submitted by the committee to J&K government.
The committee was headed by Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Mohit Gera.
The committee was set-up on directions of J&K High Court amid fears that pollens from poplar trees could be potential carriers of the coronavirus and could aggravate the pandemic in J&K.
It was mandated to examine the impact from pollen and fluff from poplar trees on human and desirability of felling these trees.
According to Local News Agency KNO, Locally known as “Fras”, the poplar trees are being cultivated in Kashmir and Ladakh for wood production. According to Forest Survey of India assessment, the estimated turnover of poplar based industrial sector in rural and urban areas of Kashmir is worth Rs 600 Crore per annum.
The number of poplar trees in J&K, as per FSI in 2011, was 1, 52,24, 845 of which 1,48, 94, 920 are alone in Kashmir Valley.