Mid-day 20th August, 2017, Marol, MumbaiThe city’s very own green cover- Aarey Milk Colony- witnessed a coming together of like-minded environmentalists on a stormy Sunday afternoon, once again bringing to light how critical this green lung is for a modern-day concrete Mumbai.
Scores of members of the Bohra community, along with Yuva Sena President Aaditya Thackeray and local adivasis residing in Aarey, came together in the lashing rain to kick-off a plantation drive of 1,000 trees. The drive was organised by the Burhani Foundation India (BFI), a charitable trust committed to initiating environmental and sustainability programs established by the late Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin nearly 27 years ago. Aarey CEO Nathu Rathod as well as members of Save Aarey Community also joined hands to support the drive.
While the drive was conducted keeping in mind the depleting green vegetation cover of the colony, the primary aim was to provide the local tribal population- who will look after these 1,000 trees- with employment opportunities and raise their awareness towards sustainable practices.
Out of the 1,000 trees planted, 600 of them were species of indigenous forest trees, while 400 were grafted fruit trees such as Mango, Guava, Chikoo, Jackfruit and Jamun. The tribals will use the latter trees, which are seasonal and cyclic in nature, for household purposes as well as commercial.
Speaking to mid-day, Prabhu Urade, 52, a resident of Sai Bangura village who is also the adhyaksh of the local Adivasi Seva Mandal, said, “I have got 50 trees to look after. Some of these can bear fruit, which are meant to be eaten or can even be sold in the market, while some of the other plants will provide for other domestic purposes. We are thankful to the Bohra community and everyone else involved in making these trees our responsibility; we can breathe because of them. At a time when the green cover is being depleted for commercial projects, it is of utmost importance to plant more number of trees.”
The trees, of height ranging six to eight feet, were tagged with a barcode to keep track of their growth and also ensure regular upkeep by the local communities.
Yuva Sena President Aaditya Thackeray addressed the audience and appreciated the fact that the weather had not dampened the spirits of the people dedicated to the cause. He spoke of the need to maintain Aarey’s green pasture as well as other spots in the city that are rich in flora and fauna.
Mr Al Alaqmar Nooruddin, a trustee of Burhani Foundation India, said, “The entire tree planting drive is carried out with the objective of uplifting the livelihoods of the local tribal community. This drive of planting 1,000 trees in Aarey neighbourhood is also part of His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin’s tree planting initiative encouraging community members to plant at least 2,00,000 trees worldwide as a means of conserving the environment and raising awareness of environmental issues.”
20th August is the birthday of His HolinessTUS.