Citizens’ group starts clearing garbage from peepal trees, helps them breathe
A group of residents in the Dwarka have taken up the task of clearing peepal trees of concrete, religious idols, offerings and plastic waste to improve the life of trees in the area.
The citizens’ group, Green Circle, has launched a campaign named ‘Paivitra Peepal’ to clear plastic, pooja material, and concrete waste dumped around trees.
“We have been clearing plastic waste from parks and other public places in Dwarka for over a year. In one of our drives we observed that peepal trees were turned into garbage dumps with pooja waste and plastic bags strewn around roots and threads tied to the trunks,” said V Selvarajan, founder of Green Circle.
Selvarajan said that they have already cleared waste around trees in Dwarka sectors-three, six, nine and 13. Around all of these sites old frames, broken glasses, pieces of idols and cloth pieces found polluting the soil and suffocating the trees. The volunteers of the group have also cleared concrete around the roots of the trees to help improve the health of trees.
Though many volunteers in the group were initially apprehensive about meddling with the religious sentiments associated around the tree, the movement was started with the message that the purity of the peepal trees are not contested but at the same time the religious offerings should not be made at the cost of the tree’s life.
“If the base of the tree is choked how are we showing our devotion? The offerings that we make often take years to decompose,” Selvarajan added.
In 2013, the NGT had not just banned the concretisation of the base of the trees within one metre radius, but had even asked the authorities not to dig roads within one metres of the tree.
Environment experts said that concretisation and dumping waste at the roots is extremely harmful for the tree as it stops the flow of water, air and
nutrients which the tree need to develop.