Working towards a greener society

TREEN PLANTATION

All of us care for our lawns very tenderly, but how many people adopt the whole city as their garden and ensure that it is always blossoming and green?

New beginning : Children plant a sapling.

NGO Utthaan is one such group which has taken on the task of planting fruit bearing trees all over Gurgaon. They have already planted more than 4,000 saplings and are creating a healthy and beautiful environment not only for the residents, but its winged habitants too.

The NGO has six members, all residents of Gurgaon and professionals from varied fields. However, their goal is the same – to ensure that the City has the right amount of green cover. The president of the NGO Madan Mohan, a businessman and resident of sector 54, Golf Course, says, “It all started with a morning walk in the neighbourhood. We had already walked for a kilometre when I pointed out the absence of a nest on the trees.”

 The team then conducted a thorough research and realised that the government had planted a large number of trees in Gurgaon but of the wrong kind. Madan informs that 70 per cent of the trees in Gurgaon today are Alstonia which do not bear any fruits and its seeds in fact cause asthma. The other variety is the Papri tree, and both are avoided by birds. The authorities had planted these trees mindlessly only because they have a long life. They are disease resistant and not consumed by animals.

“That day we pledged to do something about the situation. We started to plant as many trees of the right kind as possible and called it the ‘Vriksha Mitra’ initiative. We decided to go for beneficial trees like Bargad, Peepal, Imli, Neem, Gullar, Pilkhan and Shahtoot, which bear beautiful flowers and fruits. This would additionally attract birds which have been flying out of the City,” informs Madan.

He adds that they also decided to plant only a limited number of saplings at a time, as it is important to take care of them for at least three years before they grow into trees. He shares that recently one lakh saplings were planted in Ooty to create a new Guinness world record. However, none of them survived due to negligence.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Madan adds that there is a very sensitive relationship between the existence of birds and trees. “A lot of people in Gurgaon today complain that they cannot see any sparrows, parrots or peacocks which were commonly sighted previously. Birds need trees and trees also need birds for pollination and to disperse their seeds. So if we lose the trees, we lose the birds.”

The good news, however, being that young citizens are now taking an active interest in protecting and planting trees. Madan says, “It is very heartening to see school students participating in our tree plantation drives, and even coming back to check on them. I feel if all of us take an equal interest in our surroundings, Gurgaon, or any other city, would become a better place to live.”

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