BENGALURU: Noticing the rise in the mercury levels during past summers and to prepare against another hot spell, residents of Vasanth Nagar planted as many as 200 saplings last year in April. These have weathered the dust and traffic, more than 90 per cent have survived, and few are in bloom for this summer.
“In April last year, the temperatures soared up to 40 degrees,” says Rajkumar Dugar, general secretary, RWA, Vasanth Nagar. It was the hottest summer Bengaluru saw in 80 years. “We thought enough of complaining, let’s do something about it... that’s how we decided to plant as many as 200 trees. Around 93 per cent looks like it will survive. We were actually disappointed that it was not 100 per cent.” The residents had taken the help of an organisation called Trees for Free.
Janet Yegneswaran, 65, founder, Trees for Free says, “Trees require two years of care and after that they grow by themselves.” Local varieties of trees such as Honge, Kum Kum and Neem were planted.
Rajkumar says that it was difficult to find space to plant these many trees, especially since Vasanthnagar is a smaller neighbourhood. “Vasanthnagar is only around 0.3 sq km but we somehow managed to find 200 spots,” he says. “I even met Raghuvendra Rajkujmar to have him come and inagurate the tree planting exercise... he was more than happy.”
A few organizations such as a hospital chain and a hotel also came forward to help. Many residents volunteered to care for the saplings planted near them. Rajkumar, along with other residents, monitored the health of the saplings and ensured that the trees were well tended too by people who lived around them.
Trees For Free
Started 12 years ago, the Trees for Free has planted as many as 60,000 trees so far in Bengaluru and elsewhere. Janet is a landscape architect who does tree planting in her free time. Janet, also the president-elect of the Rotary Bangalore Koramangala, started the greening initiative in memory of her late husband. She proudly says that most of her trees grow fully because she takes up projects only when she is certain that someone around will look after the trees.
One of her first projects was planting trees at Kanteerava Stadium, back in 1997, for the National Games. They also cover villages and have planted fruit trees for farmers so as to supplement their income. Most recently, her team planted as many as 100 trees in DPS, Yelahanka. She has also has got calls to plant trees in an apartment complex of around 900 families.