Mumbai commute gets greener, auto drivers plant 500 saplings around Vashi railway station | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Mumbai commute gets greener, auto drivers plant 500 saplings around Vashi railway station

Mumbai city news: Vashi area has lost around 150 trees over the past three years, according to NMMC officials

mumbai Updated: Jun 01, 2017 13:33 IST
Pranab Jyoti Bhuyan
Commuters will see placards with messages such as ‘protect the environment, protect your future’.
Commuters will see placards with messages such as ‘protect the environment, protect your future’.(HT Photo)

Mumbaiites, your commute is set to get greener. Reason: around 100 autorickshaw drivers in Vashi have planted around 500 saplings around the railway station over the past few months.

The environment-friendly drivers have also been taking care of the saplings which include pipal, neem, gulmohar, chappa and chuga.

They water the saplings regularly and have even put placards on them with messages such as ‘protect the environment, protect your future,’ ‘you can fool yourself and the others, but you cannot fool nature, ‘keep the city clean and green’.

With their dedication, many of the saplings are thriving.

“Nearly 60,000 people come to board trains at Vashi station regularly. Even if a few of them read these placards and start doing something to save the environment, our initiative will be successful,” said Sunil Subhane, 30, an auto driver.

Subhane said they bought the saplings and planted 300 saplings of them on the Sanpada side of the station, and the rest on the Vashi side.

They have also come up with a unique idea to water the plants. They cut off the lower parts of plastic bottles and tie them to the saplings upside down. There are small holes in the bottle caps from which the water seeps out continuously.

“Most commuters have water bottles when they return home in the evening and we encourage them to pour the water into the plant bottles instead of throwing it away,” said Sushil Lad, 39, another driver.

Vashi area has lost around 150 trees over the past three years, according to NMMC officials .

Roshan Patil, 24, autorickshaw driver, said, “The area around Vashi railway station does not have much space for such plantations. Almost all open areas have been covered here. But we are trying to find more space to plant more saplings.”

“Many trees around the station area have withered over the past few months and nobody knows the reason. Our efforts could help in replacing the lost green cover,” said Suresh Patil, 46, rickshaw driver.

“Vashi still has a lot of space which could be turned into green areas. Taking advantage of the situation, some people have encroached the areas and have developed shops and other business establishments,” Vikash Chavan, 41, an environmentalist from Vashi.

“Like the auto drivers, there are many who are willing to plant trees. Many donate sapling to the NGOs. The authorities should try to reach out to them and guide them for the city’s development,” he added.