Anando Sangbad Live: In the recent past the Super Cyclonic Strom Amphan devastated the city of Kolkata. With winds reaching exceptional ferocity the widespread damage to property, and ecology grabbed the headlines. Salt lake alone witnessed hundreds of uprooted trees some that were decades old. With average AQI already above 200, its critical for Kolkata to save its trees from extinction.
On the 29th and 30th of August , Active Citizens Together for Sustainability (ACTS), a community and citizens network with the help of Dept of Environment- Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation and Bidhannagar City Police organized the Replantation of Trees Uprooted in Cyclone Amphan at Saltlake City Bidhannagar in order to mitigate the effects of Cyclone Amphan.
Smt Rahima Bibi ,Councillor, Ward no -2, MMIC Environment & Social Welfare Services , Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation said ,”The Trees are very much essential for oxygen . But before plantation we must understand which sapling is suitable for the demographics and soil of salt lake and then plant. This has been spread across by the Department of Environment and also by the Honrable Mayor. This is a very good initiative. The residents of Saltlake also want to restore the beauty of the township and had approached us. This joint effort by the BMC is also for the future generations who would also cherish the green and biodiversity of Bidhannagar.”
These uprooted trees were identified by Nature lovers, citizens and network of volunteers and the GPS coordinates were mapped. These data were then shared with the Municipal Commissioner of the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation who then extended support for the drive.
The Trees are first pruned from the top to reduce the branches and make them lighter. It is then hoisted over carefully with the Hydra while the JCB scoops out the mud to dig a pit. Vermicompost is added to the pit and the roots are quoted with fungicides like SAAF / Blytox. Once the tree is replanted the gardeners/ labours pack the roots properly with soil so that the water does not seep in. The cut portion of the trunk is then again coated with a paste of SAAF/Blytox to prevent water seepage. The trees would be monitored regularly by volunteers to keep a track of the growth. Pankaj Maloo , Founding Member and Treasurer at ACTS said , “Replanting tree give me a feeling of a doctor. As these trees still have life we just have to plant them back and take good care of them and they should soon be back in full swing of their life. Once they get hold of their roots they will then take care of themself.”
The trees being Replanted at Salt lake are Gulmohar, Debdaroo & Baniyan. These trees were replanted across HC, IC,KC,JD,LB, BA and BC block. Some of the identified trees would be uprooted completely and replaced by new saplings. But Replantation is always preferred since the mature trees have higher chances of survival than the new saplings. Vijay Agarwal, Secretary of ACTS said,” Trees contribute to the environment by providing oxygen, improving air quality, climate amelioration, conserving water, preserving soil, and supporting wildlife. … Trees also lower the air temperature and reduce the heat intensity of the greenhouse effect by maintaining low levels of carbon dioxide.
According to the India State of the Forest Report the state forest cover has increased by 0.3% from 16847 sq km in 2017 to 16901 sq km in 2019. However the greenery in non forest areas has declined by 6.1 % from 2136 sq km to 2006 sq km.The minimum requirement for an Indian city is 15%. Green cover in Delhi (19.09%) and Mumbai (18%) is much higher whereas the national average stands at 19.49%. The Government of West Bengal has taken up various initiatives from property tax deduction to vertical gardens and promoting urban forestry. Active Citizens Together for Sustainability (ACTS) has come together with love for our beloved city and inspired by the Governments commitment to Environment.
Increasing the green cover is the need of the hour, which not only adds to the beauty and bio diversity of the city but also absorbs carbon emissions. Similar plantation drive has been carried out in Maidan, Park Circus and Park Street areas in the month of June – July with the support of the Citizens, Institutions ,Government and Administration where more than 150 trees have been replanted. The drive has been successful with most of the trees shooting and new branches coming up.