Big boost for environment as volunteers plant 1 lakh saplings By Bipin Sharma.

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The Plantation drive organized by Times of India (TOI) and Hero Moto Corp at Tilpat Valley truly lived up to its reputation of being a one of its kind momentous event in the capital city. Executed by DDA, and partnered by BLK Super Specialty Hospital, WWF and Teach India, the TOI Green Drive undertaken on Sunday 30th August, 2015 was unique as close to 1 lakh saplings got planted by citizens from various walks of life as well as by different social organizations from all nooks and corners of the country. The venue of the event was Tilpat Valley which happens to be one of the seven bio diversity parks in Delhi and the deepest valley in the Delhi range of Aravalis. The objective of the green drive was to reduce pollution, global warming, and to generate awareness amongst citizens especially as Delhi’s native flora and fauna is on the threshold of extinction. Indubitably a giant leap for environment as citizens planted 1 lakh saplings in a single day.

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In an exclusive chat, Prof Emeritus-DU, CR Babu who happens to be Head of Centre for Environmental Management of Degraded Ecosystems and the incharge of all the Biodiversity Parks of Delhi shared, “Biodiversity Parks or mini natural reserves within cities are extremely important for conservation of natural heritage. Tilpat Valley Biodiversity Park falling under the aegis of the DDA, got notified recently. Since TOI was keen to undertake the plantation drive of 1 lakh saplings, it approached the DDA for obtaining the required consent. For plantation, we collected 100 native species from all over the country belonging to 15 different communities. The plantations have been carried keeping in consideration the prevalent soil conditions. We are resolute in our aim of restoring the pristine glory of the Aravalis. Biodiversity Parks will play a key role in making the capital a smart and sustainable city’. There should absolutely be no ambiguity viz a viz ‘Biodiversity parks’ as they are an integral part of the urban infrastructure. A smart city is one which is efficient in sustaining its resources. Since ‘sustenance’ holds the key to ensuring the longevity of the plants, we need to take due care of these plants for atleast two seasons, following which it will be a smooth process. The tree communities planted in Tilpat Valley include Butea, Sterculia, Mitrgyna, Adina, Anogeissus etc.”

Adds Dr Shah Hussain incharge of Aravalis Biodiversity Park, “The plantation drive was attended by more than 30,000 enthusiasts who deserve special commendation for not just sparing a thought, but their precious time for the cause of environment. It was highly motivating to witness the vibrant involvement of myriads social organizations for a holistic cause such as environment.”

Besides giving a big fillip to the environment, the plantation drive played a crucial role in bringing different social groups and organizations in one campus area on a single day. Octogenarian Om Prakash Sharma recuperating from a recent spinal surgery was among the many green lovers who registered their presence for this noble cause.

Speaking on the occasion, Sharma remarked, “As an ex-serviceman, I have always been participating in plantation drives. I made the optimal use of the opportunity by planting six plant species at different places. Children fervently participating in large numbers in the plantation drive made an inspiring sight to behold. Citizens of a progressive nation like India should regularly participate in campaigns like ‘Tree plantation’ drives and ‘Blood donation’ camps. Kudos to the organizers, and especially the Times of India Group for having enabled a considerable chunk of the population to participate in such noteworthy initiatives. One must remember that campaigns like Tree plantation drives are not a one-time affair, but have to be integrated into our lives if we aspire to live a healthy lifestyle.”

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Architect Anurag Khandelwal has passionately been educating his clients and students about the grave need for safeguarding environment from pollution since the last 15 years. Lauding the efforts of TOI for having successfully organized a mega scale plantation drive in the capital city, Anurag says, “With rising pollution levels and burgeoning number of lifestyle ailments, it has become extremely relevant to plant more and more trees in our surroundings so that there is ample clean and fresh air for all of us to inhale. As someone specializing in eco conscious green architecture, I always educate people by conveying that Sustainability is all about balancing nature with development. Architects have a crucial role to play in spreading awareness about the colossal significance of conservation projects of heritage structures. All my projects are duly complemented by adequate tree plantations.”

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