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Get saplings on demand, thanks to Mumbai duo

George Remedios and Calvin Andrade sell old newspapers, cans to raise money for the unique initiative

mumbai Updated: Mar 27, 2016 23:42 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Calvin Andrade (left) and George Remedios at their residential complex in Khar. Vidya Subramanian/HT
Calvin Andrade (left) and George Remedios at their residential complex in Khar. Vidya Subramanian/HT(Hindustan Times)

As trees are being cut every day to make way for new projects, two Khar residents are making a unique effort to preserve the city’s green cover.

George Remedios, 31, and Calvin Andrade, 20, have been planting saplings to order for people across the city . “We can source any sapling to order, if you have the space to nurture it. We have planted more than 150 saplings in the western suburbs over the past seven months,” said Remedios.

Remedios and Andrade fund their project with another green idea. They collect dry waste – newspapers, plastic bottles and cans – selling them to ragpickers and recyclers and use the money to buy saplings from nurseries. They nurture the saplings till they are ready to be planted in the compounds of housing societies, churches and schools. They came up with the idea for making the city greener not out of choice but circumstances.

“For many years, like many in the city, my mother has been suffering from asthma,” said Remedios, adding, “After some studies, Calvin and I found out that six fully-grown trees can supply oxygen for one person. So we began sharing the message through social media platforms for people to get in touch with us, so we could make their surroundings greener.”

They have planted 24 saplings along the periphery of their own housing complex, 12 at Jogger’s Park, seven along Carter Road, 15 at Sacred Heart’s Church, Santacruz (West) and close to 20 saplings at neighbouring housing complexes and markets in Bandra and Kalina.

“We have observed an 80% survival rate for plant saplings,” said Andrade, adding that regular visits are made to plantation sites to see whether the plants are being taken care of.

“Our focus is towards providing fruit bearing plants such as mulberry, pomegranate, cherry, tamarind, love apples, coconuts and many more. However, we also carry out plantation drives for indigenous plants like neem and ashoka along main roads” he added.

Ebrahim Pachorawala, resident of Khar, had a small barren plot adjacent to his house that is flourishing with 10 plants thanks to the duo’s efforts.

“These guys first collected all my newspapers, sold them to rag-pickers and planted saplings in return at my backyard, assuring me that the money was put to good use. They also helped install a compost bin and the manure generated has improved the soil condition tremendously,” he said.

A senior official from the solid waste management department of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) pointed out that waste segregation coupled with plantation drives at individual housing societies is the need of the hour.

“Without charging money, the initiatives taken up by the Khar residents are commendable as they are solely working for the environment. The city needs to come together through similar initiatives of waste segregation at source and plantation drives to solve the garbage problem and purify the city’s air,” said the official.