The first step to protect the environment is to plant trees – this seems to be the mantra of the citizens this year. While a host of initiatives are being undertaken to mark World Environment Day, residents and environmental in most parts of Mumbai have organised tree plantation drives.
For two years in a row, Lokhandwala resident Nitesh Ranglani and his 15 friends have been organising a tree plantation drive to mark the day. “The area is covered in concrete. The idea is to have some greenery in here,” said Ranglani. This year, the group will plant saplings at Vikhroli, Andheri and Dadar, apart from Lokhandwala.
“It is up to us to save the environment; it’s our duty. We form groups of two to three and each group visits different areas and plants the saplings,” says Ranglani, adding, “Since this is the second year, we are undertaking the drive, we expect more people to join in.”
Nihar Kotak from Malad believes planting trees is not enough. “Instead of planting trees, I will monitor the saplings that have been planted in my area. I will maintain them and make sure they grow. I will water them and help maintain them.”
While a lot of people feel that it is important to plant more trees, some say that it not enough to plant them but also to make people aware of the importance of saving the trees. Elsie Gabriel, mentor of Climate Reality Project and Founder of Young Environment Programme, will organise a seed collection drive along with a tree plantation drive in Powai. She said it is important for people to understand the need to maintain a seed bank and plant seeds as an ongoing process.
"Once participants understand the life cycle of a seed - from its first stages in the ground through its development into a sapling to becoming a tree – the the importance of a ‘seed bank’ will become clear. The art of seed collection can be exciting,” said Gabriel.
Tree enthusiasts in Aarey Colony will hold a tree plantation drive in various locations in the area. Gajanan Raut, CEO, Aarey, said, “The drive will be held in several places in the area including Aarey Guest House and New Zealand Hostel. The idea is to make people realise the importance of biodiversity.”