#Throwback2019: Citizens & NGOs boost tree plantation drives in Pune

Prajakta Joshi
Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Manjrekar said many who are new to the drive don’t know much about which plants to buy and from where.

PUNE: While deforestation for developmental works is a growing concern for the city, several individuals and organisations in the city have been planting trees and taking care of them.

As many NGOs and groups in the city came together this year to clean and restore river Ramnadi, tree plantation was one of the major activities of the Mission. The river was divided into nine stretches, and the groups assigned to those planted indigenous trees on the river banks. 

“This monsoon, we planted 1,000 indigenous trees on a 350-metre stretch in Someshwarwadi, and are taking care of it. Similar tree plantations were carried out in almost all stretches of the river,” said Madhukar Dalvi of RRM.

“I founded a group Pune Green in Pimple Saudagar to plant trees, and I also joined other groups to participate in plantation drives in forest and hill areas in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad for the past three years. This year, I took permission from the Forest Department to plant 1,000 trees and obtain subsidies for buying the saplings,” said city-based activist Maneesh Manjrekar.

He added, “In the wild, we have to plant trees that are at least three-four years old. If we plant these before monsoon, they can survive on their own after rainfall. Privately, these are sold at Rs 80 to 100 per sapling, but at the nurseries owned by the Forest Department, we can buy them at Rs 8 per sapling.”

Manjrekar said many who are new to the drive don’t know much about which plants to buy and from where. “We need to make people aware of which trees to plant. Native/ local trees have the best chance at survival. Also, I have noticed that people tend to be more enthusiastic towards planting the saplings, but when it comes to taking care of them consistently, it’s difficult to get them to participate,” he added.

However, environmental activist Vaishali Patkar pointed out that the citizens usually show a much higher consistency in taking care of trees, as compared to the government authorities.

“It’s all about educating the people. We usually ask people to plant saplings at home and take care of them before relocating them to the wild. However, whenever administrative authorities take up plantation drives, they fail most of the times as once planted, they forget to take care of those trees,” Patkar said. She added that while the trees planted by the citizens might have 70 per cent chance at survival, those planted by government authorities survive only 10 per cent. “I have observed that whenever tree plantation drives are conducted inside the campuses of corporate or government offices, they survive. But those planted in open, across the roads are left neglected,” she said.

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