CHENNAI: It was all about setting a green example and spreading the message of biodiversity restoration with the distribution of over 8,000 fruit trees to school students and tree lovers, at the Chennai Boys Higher Secondary School in Nungambakkam on Saturday.
This effort by Indo International Initiative Billions of Fruit Trees (IIIBFT) will help students turn their schools into a fruit paradise, besides enabling the NGO Tree Bank to distribute these saplings to tree lovers.
IIBFT, started by Alagu Perumal, a professor at LIBA who donated more than 2,000 saplings back in 2012, distributed more than 25,000 saplings among 16 schools between March 2014 and May 2015.
“The idea behind raising fruit bearing trees is simple. A normal sapling, once grown, will only provide shade. Fruit trees, on the other hand, would not only give shade, but food as well, which would help in restoration of biodiversity,” said Alagu Perumal.
“In another way, we are moving away from agricultural practices these days due to industrialisation, which will lead to food shortage, but if each household has one mango, jackfruit or sapodilla tree, it could save us from such a bleak future,” he pointed out.
“Since last year, we have been working with tree banks and reached out to 10 schools, sowing 10,000 saplings. Today, we have over 8,000 saplings that be we’ll handing over to the Tree Bank.
Last year, 24 schools joined our initiative. This year, we hope to cover more than 8,000 schools,” he said, detailing IIBFT’s plans.
"Professor Alagu Perumal has managed to draw the interest of students towards making this city green, and this is commendable," said Valarmathi, Minister for Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal scheme, the chief guest, who planted a sapling along with the students and added that this initiative should be taken up among more Corporation schools, as it will evoke more interest from the students.