Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Going Green with "Ente Maram"

The World Environment Day is annually "celebrated" on June 5th. Celebrations include essay writing, pledges, poster competetions and the like. None of these end up having long lasting efforts. Its just another ocassion to get some political attention towards the burning environmental issues. But the World Environment Day of 2007 would be memorable to most school children in Kerala - This was because June 5 was chosen for the launch of the "Ente Maram Paddathy", the afforestation initiative by the ruling LDF in Kerala. It involves the planting of 25 lakh saplings by school children, and encouraging them to love the environment. I read somewhere that the LDF was targetting increasing forest cover from 24% to 33% over the next few years; although I am not sure about the exact figures, the government is certainly doing something in this regard.

Although "Ente Maram" is given enough popularity through newspapers, there is no official site maintained by the Government for the Project. Hence, I decided that I would blog about this collecting all information that is available from the web, mainly to ensure that pravasi malayalis do know about this fantastic initiative.

The project is a joint initiative by the Education Department and the Forest Department. One among the main motivations, as the Government puts it, is to have a green coastal belt to protect them against natural hazards such as Tsunamis (I am not sure about whether a green coastal belt would resist the Tsunami, but I heard that some Tsunami fund is being used for the Project). The project involves distribution of 25 lakh saplings of 24 species to selected 5095 schools all over the state to be planted by students in classes 5th-9th standard. Hindu says, "As many as 24.46 lakh saplings are to be planted in a single day, making it one of the most intensive afforestation programmes ever taken up."

The project was inauguarated by Medha Patkar by planting a sapling at a school in the State Capital in the presence of some ministers and Sugathakumari. Reports on the project appear here and here. Sadly, this was the only place in the government domain which speaks about the project.

The eviction drive, especially in Munnar where the encroachments were mostly on the forest area, along with such afforestation initiatives would definitely make some difference. It is encouraging to see that the Government is spending energy and money on such initiatives.


Anamika said...

Nice! Think I am a little late to say that :-D

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Tony an Indian said...

Do you think the government is sincere in this 'ente maram'. No friends, it's only a political gimmick!
Still now kerala is losing large tracts of forests through forgery, on which the government is doing nothing. More over the encroachment in to the forests of high ranges of western ghats especially Munnar and such parts of Idukki are sponcered by all political parties

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