This TN man's love for trees is inspiring many

The organisation has also created a herbal garden at Government Higher Secondary School and Government Hospital and Taluk office in Uthamapalayam.

Published: 24th April 2022 05:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th April 2022 05:42 AM   |  A+A-

Nansei volunteers are on a mission to recover Theni district’s green cover | Express

Express News Service

THENI: In 2004, a couple of days after the giant tsunami waves wreaked havoc on the Tamil Nadu coast on December 26, rehabilitation works were in full swing across the fishing hamlets of Nagapattinam and Karaikal. The destruction was enormous, and it left the 18-year-old J Senthil Kumar, an undergraduate history student then, reeling in grief. He joined a few good Samaritans to take help to the dispossessed.

Nearly 18 years on, Senthil still vividly recalls the devastation. The ruin and the chaos changed his entire perspective. Senthil, a leading environmental advocate who founded Nansei in 2019, an organisation working towards increasing the green cover in Theni, he would say the tsunami episode was an eye-opener. Nansei means fertile land in Tamil, loosely translated as ‘do good things’.

“The 2004 calamity made me realise the importance of protecting the environment. If nature is harmed, people have to face consequences in the form of tsunami, climate change, floods, etc,” the resident of Uthamapalayam says.

With an eye on spreading awareness for protecting the environment, Senthil and his group of friends, for the last 12 years, have been organising festivals that focus on protecting trees. Senthil calls driving nails into trees an atrocious act. Their festivals focus on plucking out nails and removing advertisement hoardings from trees. So far, the group has organised 140 nail-plucking festivals in the district, collecting a massive 300 kg of nails.

Back in 2010, Senthil, along with 13 of his friends, used to leave home early in the morning to remove nails and posters from trees along the roads in Uthamapalayam. “We used to tell people that trees are also living things and they do feel pain, just like humans. Driving nails onto the trunks will weaken the trees and eventually, they will die,” he says. Thanks to the initiative, a total of 16 village panchayats passed resolutions they won’t allow anyone to drive nails onto trees.

A volunteer of the Nansei, N Vignesh, says the organisation has planted 50,000 palm seeds in 40 kanmois in the district in three years since 2019. “Nearly 70% of the seeds have sprouted. The initiative is a success as students are taking part in the plantation drive in large numbers,” he says.Another volunteer, M Selvakumar, says Nansei has a seedling farm at Uthamapalayam and the saplings are being distributed to the public. “So far, we have distributed 5,000 saplings free of cost,” he says.

The organisation has also created a herbal garden at Government Higher Secondary School and Government Hospital and Taluk office in Uthamapalayam. In a bid to spread awareness on plantation drive, the NGO has painted graffiti on the walls of 16 government schools.

“The graffiti has bore fruit as students are enthusiastically growing trees on their school campuses now,” Selvakumar signs off with a smile.


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