35,000 saplings planted over weekend to add green cheer
KAMLA NEHRU BIODIVERSITY PARK TUGHLAQABAD BIODIVERSITY PARK
New Delhi: Making the most of overcast skies and a pleasant morning, thousands of volunteers descended on Delhi’s Kamla Nehru Biodiversity Park and Tughlaqabad Biodiversity Park this weekend to plant a total of 35,000 saplings and add to Delhi’s green cover.
As part of the fifth edition of Hero TOI Green Drive, college students, members of eco clubs and Sant Nirankari Charitable Foundation (SNCF) converged on the biodiversity parks on Friday and Sunday — the first two days of the programme in the capital.
As many as 3 lakh saplings—of which 1.5 lakh were planted in Chennai on August 31—will be planted across the country this year. A lakh of these will be in the capital alone. On Friday, the Hero TOI Green Drive reached DDA’s Kamla Nehru Biodiversity Park in north Delhi with 15,000 saplings planted over 122 hectares. Ten different plant communities were chosen to improve the habitat there. These included Buteamonosperma , Prosopiscineraria, boswellia, ziziphus-balenites, mitragyna, salvadora, dichrostachys, wrightia, sterculia and acacia-based communities.
Over 500 students — from Hindu, Miranda House and Hansraj colleges, among others — took part in the plantation process. Faiyaz Khudsar, scientist in-charge at Yamuna Biodiversity Park, said that based on topography, altitudinal variations and depth of valleys, native biotic communities of Aravalli hill ranges were chosen. “All plant communities are native to the area and will grow easily in this undulating and rough terrain. We now need to provide proper care to ensure that nilgai and monkeys do not trample upon them,” Khudsar said.
At Tughlaqabad Biodiversity Park, similar plant species were chosen. SNCF volunteers in large numbers planted 20,000 saplings in a single day on Sunday, with the exercise starting at 8am to cover different parts of the park. Bindiya Chhabra, executive president at SNCF, said: “We took part in this drive in 2015 when it started at Tilpath Valley and the 1.2 lakh saplings planted there have already turned into trees. They are giving back to us and it’s for us to take care of them,” Chhabra said.
She was assisted in planting the saplings by Sanjay Yadav, DIG, PDG CRPF, whose camp is located adjacent to the biodiversity park. “Human greed is now threatening human existence. We now need a mass movement to fix things and a drive like this can bring everyone together and make Delhi greener,” Yadav said.
Professor C R Babu, head of Centre for Environmental Management of Degraded Ecosystems — the body providing technical assistance during the drive and managing the biodiversity parks under DDA — said the aim was to create forests that consisted of different trophic levels and canopies to naturally filter air. “Once these saplings grow, they will play a major role in mitigating air pollution in Delhi. Environmental problems are too complex to solve immediately and we will need to keep planting trees and taking care of them to bring about change,” said Babu.
The Hero TOI Green Drive will move on to Aravalli Biodiversity Park on October 3 with 20,000 saplings to be planted there. A total of five biodiversity parks under DDA will be covered this year in Delhi.