13 June 2019
Sumeir Bhatia, a student of 8thstandard,studying in Strawberry Fields High School, Sec 26 here, was so moved by an article he read in a newspaper, about 500 trees which were going to be axed for building a flyover in Chandigarh, that he started his small green initiative.
“I questioned myself, what is more beneficial for us, sustaining our environment or infrastructure development at the cost of it? I feel that such development should certainly not come at the expense of environmental preservation.” Said Sumeir.
Sumeir took it upon himself to contribute through a small step, towards improving green cover. He reached out to several villages of Punjab in the vicinity of Chandigarh, where rapid infrastructural development and deforestation had lead to lack of ground water. “In a small initiative we organized tree plantation drives, where over 500 trees were planted to give a fillip to afforestation of those areas.” Sumeir stated.
The initiative nicknamed ‘The Tree Box’ used ‘Beej Balls’ to create green areas. “I learnt about this unique system of beejball afforestation during the initiative. These balls are made up of clay, compost and seeds. They don’t need any extra care, one can simply throw them in an open ground. They are crafted in a way that they grow fast without any human care. “
It is noteworthy that scattering beejballs is any easy way to help a struggling ecosystem. These have an advantage over scattering native plant seeds, which are often eaten up by insects, birds, and rodents or washed away by the rain.
“In Beej balls, seeds are protected inside a ball. When it rains, the clay in the ball holds the water and helps the seeds to germinate. When the seeds germinate, the compost helps the seedlings grow.” Added Sumier.
It is pertinent to state here that deforestation has resulted in not only rapid climatic change but also loss of biodiversity not just in plants but in the animals and insects dependant on them too. The data collected by the World Resources Institute reveals that about 80 percent of the forest cover of the planet has already been lost due to deforestation.