CHENNAI: Chennai already has the dubious distinction of having the lowest green cover among all the metropolitan cities in the country, with each person in the city having just 0.46sqm of open space and only one tree for every 33 people on city roads. In what can be an effective initiative to better this condition, a unique tree ambulance was inaugurated in the city on Wednesday on the occasion of International Day for Biological Diversity, by the Vice President of India, Venkaiah Naidu.
The tree ambulance initiative is the brainchild of Green man of India, Dr K Abdul Ghani and the project is being sponsored by the SASA Group.
“While humans and animals in the city have an ambulance, we wanted something for trees. Every year, some or the other disaster has been devastating the State. During Vardah, about one lakh trees were uprooted in the city and not even one was replanted. This is where the tree ambulance could help. If a call is made to the helpline number, we will relocate the trees at free of cost,” explained Abdul Ghani.
The services provided by the tree ambulance include first-aid treatment, uprooted tree planting, seed bank, seed ball distribution, plant distribution, aiding tree plantation, shifting trees, a survey of trees and removal of dead trees.
Abdul Ghani said, “A couple of years ago, a man died in Perambur when a dead tree fell on him. In Chennai alone, there are hundreds of dead trees found in open places posing a hazard to the public. We will help remove the dead trees and plant new saplings. Also, the ambulance would visit schools and other institutions educating the public about the importance of green cover and ways to improve it.”
Travelling along with the Tree ambulance is a driver, farmer and coordinator carrying latest mechanical tools, water, manure, fungicides and fertilisers.
Suresh Krishna Jadhav, founder, SASA Group, said, in the second phase, the complete process of lifting and placing the tree will be automated. It is currently in the designing stage and will be fabricated by December. “Our ultimate goal is to set up a similar ambulance in each district and develop a strong volunteer community to support this program,” he said. The ambulance can be availed through the number — 9941006786. People can register as volunteers on their website: www.treeambulance.org