Wednesday, July 29, 2009

All for our green cover

All for our green cover


Aniruddha ChowdhuryFirst Published : 29 Jul 2009 05:18:00 AM IST
IT can be quite demoralising when one’s best efforts in restoring our city’s green cover are stalled by a mechanical failure, as if it wasn’t bad enough dealing with the constant felling of trees, the apathy of the authorities and the perfunctory involvement of the public. Ask Janet of treesforfree.
org and you will know how it feels.
On a crusade since 2005 to restore the fast disappearing greenery of our city, she worked hard towards planting saplings across the city, all with her humble Maruti Zen which she had customised in her own way for the purpose, and which served her well enough so far before falling apart due to all that travelling. She used to ferry her saplings all over the place along with her volunteers and convince people to let them plant saplings on their property, houses and offices. The initiative worked out pretty well in gated communities.
“My car stalled a lot earlier than other cars do because of all the pressure on it. When there are a larger number of saplings we hire tempos, but it is a waste to hire tempos for a small number of saplings. What we need is a pick-up to take our initiative forward, and it costs around Rs 4 lakh. Even if 4,000 concerned people could contribute Rs 100 each, we could get the funds,” she says.
It was over four years back that she started this initiative in memory of her husband, RS Yegneswaran.
Before she embarked on her green drive, she was into landscaping, and planting saplings had seemed like quite a natural thing to do for her. It didn’t start off with a bang, with only 250 saplings being planted in the first year of the organisation’s inception and approximately the same number in the second year. But when the much respected Salumaradha Thimakka came into the scene, it picked up in a big way.
Their second anniversary had them notching up a figure of 500 saplings in that one day alone! Since then the figure has swelled to over 13,200 saplings, with some weekends yielding over 200.
Janet plants trees for free. Just spot a site and let her know and she will help you plant a tree there. Also, she encourages you to fight against global warming and spread the word about her organisation as well as about simple things you can do to fight global warming. Treesforfree.org has planted a lot of saplings at schools, colleges, hospitals, offices and banks.
They do events also. In their second year, they had formed a human chain on MG Road, which had seen got a lot of participation.
The authorities also have been cooperative. BBMP has provided tree guards in south Bangalore, but the north has been a problem.
“We are a volunteer based organisation, and it is nice to see so many youngsters pitching in to save the environment. We have no fixed targets for the future, because we can never have enough trees planted, but we definitely want to continue this as long as possible with the help of the people around,” Janet says.

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